Rutherford: Pens need ‘more balance’ at forward, will ‘make some changes’

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Pittsburgh is 15-4-2, atop the Metropolitan Division and one point back of Montreal for first in the Eastern Conference — a good start, but not enough for GM Jim Rutherford to stand pat.

“We’ll still make some changes with the team,” Rutherford said, per the Tribune-Review. “We need to get more balance in our forward lines. And I say that with all due respect to the players we have. The guys have worked hard.

“At the same time, there’s a lot of good teams in this league, and I recognize that we’ll have to get more depth up front.”

There were reports of Rutherford wanting to add depth up front before Pascal Dupuis was lost for the season and Beau Bennett went down to a lower-body injury, so now the veteran GM is talking about adding pieces, plural, as opposed to just one piece.

It’ll be interesting to see where he looks for them.

The most obvious trade partner would be Carolina, Rutherford’s former team. He has an extremely close relationship with new GM Ron Francis and the financially-strapped ‘Canes probably won’t make the playoffs — Jiri Tlusty, who leads Carolina with eight goals and is a UFA at season’s end, could qualify as a legitimate option.

Another team worth considering would be Edmonton. The club is spiraling, having lost eight straight, and could look to shake things up via trade. One of the Oilers’ few positions of strength is at wing, and the likes of David Perron and Nail Yakupov have seen their names surface in trade rumors before.