- Craig Custance
What should the Penguins do with all their defensemen? Who should be the No. 1 target for Stars GM Jim Nill? Should Ted Nolan return in Buffalo? All this and more in this week’s hockey mailbag. If you want to be featured in next week’s mailbag, send your questions, hockey ideas and observations in here.
With the abundance of defensemen for the Penguins (Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Olli Maatta, Matt Niskanen, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, Deryk Engelland, not to mention Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington a year away) it seems likely that a trade is imminent. Despres' name has been thrown around lately. What kind of return can the Pens fetch for Despres and/or a Despres package (i.e. Despres, pick, prospect)? Thanks!
It’s hard to say that a Penguins deal is imminent regarding Despres, considering teams that will look to spend to the cap aren’t necessarily eager to start adding salary right now. If you’re trading a player of value, you do it when there are the most possible suitors, and that’s going to be much closer to the trade deadline, most likely after the Olympic roster freeze is lifted.
As for his value, that’s a tough one. It’s safe to say he’s been passed by some of the other young Penguins defensemen, and Pittsburgh fans who might expect an Alex Goligoski-like return will be disappointed. To me, he’s more of an added value trade piece in a deal, rather than a guy you can build a trade around. Inquiring teams will certainly wonder why he’s lost the trust of Dan Bylsma, as colleague Rob Rossi has speculated. But he’s still just 22 years old, with size (6-foot-4) and skill. That’s an attractive asset. He could be part of a package for a guy like Mike Cammalleri or closer to straight-up for a forward you might play further down the lineup.
Who would you name Captain of Team USA and why?
Jeremy Beyer, Florida
Hey Craig. Saw in the last mailbag your mention that Dustin Brown would be the likely Team USA captain. I don't want to debate whether he will be; my expectation is he will (at the time of this writing, not sure anything is official), but I'm wondering if it's really a good idea. I understand Brown's pros, but frankly, for non-Kings fans, particularly fans of teams that see Brown a lot, his reputation is that of a cheap-shot artist who plays over the edge and embellishes more than the average player (to say the least). Is that really the kind of guy we want representing Team USA as the leader? I'd much rather pick any one of Callahan, Suter, Parise or Backes instead of Brown. I understand the importance of including him on the roster, but his style of play really shouldn't be one Team USA is lifting up as one to emulate. Am I way off base? Would appreciate hearing your take.
I’ll put those two questions together, because this is a great debate.