Back in early November, Ben Hankinson — the agent for Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin — said the pending UFA was “open” to contract extension talks with the Pens.
Two months later, it appears those talks have yet to happen.
Neither the Penguins nor Martin has initiated any discussion regarding a possible contract extension. Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson, told Trib Total Media in November that he and Martin would be willing to discuss an extension.
However, no talks have taken place and a strong possibility exists that Martin, 33, will test the market this summer. The Penguins could trade him this season. His salary cap hit of $5 million would clear enough space for the Penguins to land a big-name winger, something they might desire despite the recent acquisition of winger David Perron.
The trade route is certainly interesting. While it’d be odd to see a Cup contender deal away one of its most experienced blueliners, Pens GM Jim Rutherford has all but said his young defensive prospects — Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington — aren’t available (they were off the table for the Perron deal), which could suggest Martin’s name might be in play.
Without Martin, Pittsburgh (when healthy) can still ice a top-four defense of Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, Olli Maatta and Rob Scuderi, with the likes of Pouliot, Harrington, Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo fighting for the bottom two spots. While not overwhelmingly deep, it’s a competent group that could be bolstered by a cheap, low-rent veteran at the deadline — which would still leave room for a big addition up front.