Pens may play worse post-trades

History shows top teams tend to decline after deadline moves

Originally Published: April 2, 2013
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider
Jarome IginlaJohn Russell/NHLI/Getty ImagesJarome Iginla is now a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but how much will he help?

It is safe to say the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose 15 wins in a row have them leading the Eastern Conference with 56 points, have pushed all their chips into the middle of the pot and are going for it.

Their first move was acquiring Brenden Morrow and a third-round pick this year in a trade with the Dallas Stars for prospect defenseman Joe Morrow and a fifth-round pick in the 2013 entry draft. Morrow has six goals and 11 points in 32 games this season and gives Pittsburgh another strong body on the forecheck who can dig out the puck on the wing.

Still not satisfied with their roster, the Pens picked up San Jose Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray for second-round picks in the 2013 and 2014 draft. Murray, a stay-at-home defenseman, has 67 blocked shots and 63 hits this season, plus he will help clear the front of the net and also kill penalties (2:53 per game on the penalty kill).

Then, Penguins general manager Ray Shero landed top target Jarome Iginla from the Calgary Flames for the rights to two NCAA players and a first-round pick in the 2013 draft.

Despite the recent injury to uber-star Sidney Crosby, the message is clear from the Penguins' organization: Stanley Cup or bust. But even with the added talent AND a healthy Crosby, we should expect the Penguins to do worse, not better, over these next few weeks.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.