Pens GM on moving up in draft, ‘competitive market’ for wingers

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If there’s one way to describe how Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is approaching this offseason, it might be “open-ended.”

Rutherford has discussed (and sometimes denied) a variety of possibilities already, yet he shared some other interesting insights with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari.

With only a second-round pick in the first four rounds of the 2015 NHL Draft, it makes sense that Rutherford may try to move up, although that report implies that his goals might be modest. Then again, it could come down to circumstances.

“It’ll probably depend more on how the draft [unfolds],” Rutherford said. “If we get to a certain point in the draft and there’s a player who’s still sitting there who we’re surprised is still there, we could possibly look at a move at that point.”

It does indeed sound like the Penguins hope to land a top-six winger, although the lack of options is leading to a “pretty competitive market right now,” as Rutherford noted. With a shallow free agent pool in mind, Molinari reports that Pittsburgh has at least “kicked the tires” regarding Phil Kessel’s availability.

Considering how top-heavy the team’s structure already is, it would take some serious juggling to make a Kessel trade work.

Then again, maybe kicking the tires is the theme of the Penguins’ outlook in the summer of 2016 … at least so far.