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Inside Scoop: NHL trade deadline 2020

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins made two moves prior the expiration of the NHL's annual trade deadline at 3 p.m. Both moves will help bolster the depth at the forward position.  

Early in the day, the Penguins acquired Patrick Marleau from San Jose in exchange for a conditional third-round pick. They finished the day by re-acquiring forward Conor Sheary along with Evan Rodrigues in exchange for Dominik Kahun.

"We're really happy with today," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We feel good about our team. We've felt good about it all year. We feel better today. We feel we have a stronger team. Hopefully, we get healthy here in the next week or two and have a whole team to see what we've really got."

Here's a look at the day in a glance…

Patrick Marleau

Don't let Marleau's age fool you. The 40-year-old winger can still skate and with good pace. He'll be a good fit with the Penguins' up-tempo style (he did it the past two seasons in Toronto). While his goal scoring may be down this year (10 goals in 58 games), he did pot 27 two years ago with the Leafs, and will get better opportunities with the Penguins' high-end talent.

Marleau is likely to be a bottom-6 player in Pittsburgh, but that doesn't mean he can't fit into a top-6 role if needed. Players like Sheary, Dominik Simon, Patric Hornqvist, Rodrigues and even Jared McCann have moved into various roles and various lines. Marleau provides another option that can be moved around if needed.

"He can still really skate, and as you get older that's important for you," Rutherford said. "He should be a good fit for us."

Marleau also brings with him 22 years of NHL experience, 1,715 games played, 561 goals, 625 assists, 1,186 points, 191 playoff games and 127 playoff points (72G-55A). Marleau's 1,715 games played ranks fifth in NHL history, and he's just 52 shy of the league record of 1,767, held by Gordie Howe.

Marleau is coming full circle in his career. He was the second-overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft held at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena. And since then he's seen and done it all, except win a Stanley Cup. And that's his goal this time around.

"His desire to get that ultimate prize is going to be big for him because time is running out," Rutherford said.

Marleau will be a great veteran presence in the locker room. He's served as San Jose's captain for five seasons (2003-09) and alternate captain with the Sharks (2009-16) and two seasons in Toronto (2017-19).

He can provide that older veteran role that Matt Cullen had done so well during the Penguins' back-to-back Stanley Cup runs. Marleau embraced a similar role with a young team in the Maple Leafs, and became an Internet sensation in Toronto in his mentor role as a de facto "father" to young studs Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

"We have a close-knit team now and bringing in someone that's going to fit in makes sense for us," Rutherford said. "He brings leadership, but he's still a good player."

Marleau will also be a reliable figure in the lineup. He's dressed in every NHL game since 2009 - an iron man streak of 846 consecutive games played, the fifth-longest streak in NHL history. For a team that has been decimated by injuries (264 man-games lost), having someone they know can be depended upon to dress and play for every single game is a huge asset (and sense of relief).

Conor Sheary

Sheary is a man that needs no introduction to Penguins fans. He won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 2016 and '17 while playing on a line with Sidney Crosby. Sheary's biggest career goal was an overtime winner in Game 2 of the 2016 Final against San Jose.

Sheary is still young at 27 years old, though his contract does expire at the end of this season. He should be able to jump right into the lineup easily with his familiarity of the system and many of the players in the locker room.

"He was pretty pumped when I talked to him," Rutherford said. "The coaches felt very strong when his name came up that it would seamless for him coming back in here.

"He was a good player for us in those two Cup runs, and he's still a capable guy."

Evan Rodrigues

Rodrigues is still relatively young at 26 years old and has played in parts of four seasons in the NHL. He has some versatility in moving throughout lineup and can play all three forward positions. Rodrigues is another body that adds depth to the forward group.

"Getting guys that can move up and down the lineup always helps," Rutherford said. "(Rodrigues) was in and out of the lineup in Buffalo, I don't know exactly what happened there. But there were times that he played with (All-Star Jack) Eichel."

Defense?

While the Penguins did acquire three forwards on the day, they did not add any defensemen. Pittsburgh is very happy with its current depth on defense, and will be happier once Brian Dumoulin (ankle) and John Marino (facial surgery) return from injury.

And the price being asked for depth defensemen around the league was too high for a player that was only viewed to be an insurance asset.

"As for a depth defenseman, we did look at that. We feel we have nine NHL defensemen in the organization now," Rutherford said. "With the way the defensemen fell the other day, and the ones that were available today, the prices of them didn't make sense. That depth defenseman may not even play a whole lot if we are healthy."

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