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Are Zucker and Kapanen Trade Candidates Out of Pittsburgh?

The play of Evan Rodrigues in Pittsburgh has led to discussion about how safe both Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen are on the roster?

According to Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now, the strong play of Evan Rodrigues in Pittsburgh has opened up the debate and potential discussion regarding names like Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen. Both players are often absent from the score sheet, while Rodrigues continues to show well. Could this lead to the Penguins shopping either player, specifically someone like Zucker?

Related: Ron Hextall Has ‘Plan A’ and ‘Plan B’ for Penguins and Kris Letang

Kingserski notes that Kapanen’s play has dropped off and he’s been shoved down the lineup several times over the past couple of weeks. He’s testing coach Mike Sullivan’s patience and while Kapanen has points this season, they come in clumps. Consistency has not been his calling card. Meanwhile, with “Jason Zucker disappearing into the ether”, his name has come up as and Kingserski adds that Rodrigues is a player that could make Zucker expendable.

Jason Zucker Kasperi Kapanen Penguins
Jason Zucker Kasperi Kapanen Penguins

Kingserski notes:

Zucker has 10 points in 30 games. For armchair GMs who were happy to trade him, or this writer who placed him high on the Penguins trade bait list, his production only feeds into that potential.

What About Bryan Rust?

Kingerski didn’t connect the dots between Rust and Rodrigues, but he did suggest the team might need to make a decision on Rust sooner than later. He writes that Rust is an unrestricted free agent next summer, and it appears he will test the market. “PHN can confirm the team and player discussed a new contract but didn’t find common ground and tabled further discussions,” he writes.

Between the chatter that Kapanen is testing the coach’s patience and Zucker has been almost invisible, either one of these two players could be names to watch coming out of the holiday break. As for Rust, that conversation will likely happen over the summer.

Remember, the Penguins can’t trade everyone if their hope is to stay in the playoff race. They currently sit 7th in the Eastern Conference with 39 points.

Related: Jakob Chychrun Trade Rumors: “It’s Not Going to be the Oilers”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Randy Alexander

    December 21, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    with a $5.5 cap hit Zucker is going nowhere

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