James O'Brien

More fireworks to come? Penguins reportedly still in trade market

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Wednesday stands as a rare day of splashy trades, but especially insatiable types might ask, “Who’s next?”

The Pittsburgh Penguins are showing serious signs of improvement under new head coach Mike Sullivan, but they’re not necessarily done making enhancements.

Darren Dreger reports that the Penguins are sniffing around for a possible upgrade at forward or on defense.

Granted, almost every team wants to land upgrades in those groups, especially if the price is right. Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen emphatically states that it’s tough to trade for a blueliner, for one.

Still, on a night like this, such ideas gain quite a bit of credibility.

What kind of pieces should Penguins GM Jim Rutheford seek out, and what should he be willing to give up?

As a reminder, you obviously have to give something to get something, so … here’s another Kekalainen gem:

Video: Panarin dances around Penguins for pretty goal

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A day after a well-matched thriller, the Chicago Blackhawks are taking it to the Pittsburgh Penguins early on, and they have a 1-0 lead to show for it.

Artemi Panarin emerged from relative anonymity to be a fantastic complement to Patrick Kane, but every now and then people might wonder if he’s merely a passenger. The goal above makes a strong argument that he can hold his own, too.

Watch as the play develops from “Chicago’s doing a nice job keeping this sequence alive” to “Panarin’s dancing around an increasingly befuddled group of Penguins.” An NBCSN replay revealed that the Blackhawks kept it in Pittsburgh’s zone for more than a minute.

It’s a sight to behold, and it’s fitting that Panarin tied Dylan Larkin for the rookie goals lead with his 14th goal, as Larkin’s authored a recent beauty as well.

Update: Panarin added another goal, giving him four goals in two games (and possibly counting).

Seth Jones sheds some shadows, readies for ‘big role’ in Columbus

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One of the many remarkable things about the very remarkable Seth JonesRyan Johansen trade is just how young the two players are.

Jones is just 21, while Johansen’s only 23. It’s plausible that the trade may be assessed for more than a decade.

More than a few people view it as a long-term win for the Blue Jackets, and maybe a lopsided one.

In other words, Columbus front office members aren’t being totally facetious when they say that the move wasn’t about the seemingly deteriorating relationship between Johansen and John Tortorella.

There are plenty of numbers that argue that Jones is already the kind of difference-maker the Blue Jackets sorely need on the blueline.

But that age number – seriously, just 21 – is the most intriguing. Especially when you consider the fact that he’s been playing a supporting role behind Shea Weber and Roman Josi, possibly for the right amount of time to break through at a more natural pace.

The Blue Jackets certainly seem excited about acquiring him, and his fascinatingly high ceiling.

“Seth Jones is a big, skilled defenseman who has the potential to be an elite performer in this league for many years to come,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He has tremendous skill with the puck, sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to shut down the opposition as well. We believe he will be an anchor on the blueline for our team for many years to come.”

How do you think we’ll look back at this trade years from now, whether it be five, 10 … or more?

Johansen, Blue Jackets insist trade wasn’t about Torts

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If the (perceived?) rift between John Tortorella and Ryan Johansen factored into the blockbuster trade that propelled Seth Jones to the Columbus Blue Jackets, then the sides are doing their part to keep that private.

Publicly, both Johansen and his now-former-team are denying that seemingly strained relationship as the catalyst for a move.

Johansen said all the right things about Torts during a conference call following the trade (which shocked many in the hockey world, but apparently not him).

Interestingly, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Johansen never asked for a trade, even with a lot of drama going on this season.

Either way, Johansen is clearly excited to join the Predators.

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen emphasized that this was about getting a potential blue chip defenseman in Jones, not about hard feelings between Columbus’ former No. 1 center and Tortorella.

Many believe that the Blue Jackets won this deal, citing Jones’ strong possession numbers and potential to really grow into a more prominent role in Columbus. Kekalainen clearly believes Jones could be a go-to guy for the Blue Jackets.

Predators GM David Poile discussed the move, which you can watch in the video below.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Penguins at Blackhawks)

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) blocks a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) during the shootout on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago. The Blackhawks beat the Penguins 2-1. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
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On a night that featured a couple splashy trades, why not sit back and watch some of the league’s biggest stars?

You’ll get that when you watch the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks close off their back-to-back set in the latest edition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry” on NBCSN.

Watch it on NBCSN and/or stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

For a full preview, click here.