Pittsburgh Penguins general manger Ray Shero is earning plaudits for securing Jarome Iginla from Calgary for a package that only the most ardent of hockey observers would be familiar with.
The Iginla trade comes on the heels of two other Shero moves this week and they fit a pattern. Since taking over the Penguins in 2006, Shero has usually been an enthusiastic player in trade talks in the run-up to the deadline.
About the worst you can say about his track record at this time of year is that some of the additions just didn't pan out. But for the most part, he's shone, and there isn't a single player he's given up at this time of year who's yet to make the Penguins rue the day they parted ways.
As the roster list below indicates, Shero's Penguins still include players picked up in trades down the stretch drive in previous seasons.
All that said, it's important to point out that the Cup isn't handed out in March and it's a long slog to a championship.
Since they beat the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup final, the Penguins have only prevailed in one of four playoff series, against an Ottawa Senators squad in 2010 that many considered to have done well just to make the post-season.
Shero's impact on Pittsburgh roster
The table below includes all players who have suited up for the Penguins this season and are still on the roster. The players in bold are those who arrived after Shero was hired as general manager in May 2006.
The breakdown of Shero moves as reflected on the current roster:
- 6 unrestricted free agents
- 6 trade acquisitions
- 4 draft selections
- 1 waiver claim
|Marc-Andre Fleury: Drafted first overall, 2003|
|Tomas Vokoun: Trade from Washington, June 2012|
|Robert Bortozzo: Drafted 7th round, 2007|
|Simon Despres: Drafted 1st round, 2009|
|Mark Eaton: Unrestricted free agent, 2013|
|Derek Engelland: Unrestricted free agent, 2007|
|Kris Letang: Drafted 3rd round, 2005|
|Paul Martin: Unrestricted free agent, 2010|
|Doug Murray: Trade from San Jose, March 2013|
|Matt Niskanen: Trade from Dallas, Feb. 2011|
|Brooks Orpik: Drafted first round, 2000.|
|Craig Adams: Waivers from Chicago, 2009|
|Beau Bennett: Drafted 1st round, 2010|
|Matt Cooke: Unrestricted free agent, 2008|
|Sidney Crosby: Drafted 1st overall, 2005|
|Pascal Dupuis: Trade from Atlanta, Feb. 2008|
|Tanner Glass: Unrestricted free agent, 2012|
|Dustin Jeffrey: Drafted 6th round, 2007|
|Tyler Kennedy: Drafted 4th round, 2004|
|Chris Kunitz: Trade from Anaheim, Feb. 2009|
|Evgeni Malkin: Drafted 2nd overall, 2004|
|Brenden Morrow: Trade from Dallas, March 2013|
|James Neal: Trade from Dallas, Feb. 2011|
|Brandon Sutter: Trade from Carolina, June 2012|
|Joe Vitale: Drafted 7th round, 2005|
Shero's late-season trades
Here's a look at the work done by Shero and his supporting team in the last months of the regular season since he came to Pittsburgh.
The sports cable nets can hype "deadline day," but for these purposes it's a look at deals made after January of each season.
We pick up the narrative in 2007-08, as Shero and the Pens made no major moves the previous season, which ended with a first round loss to Ottawa.
Result: Penguins lose in Stanley Cup final to Detroit.
Trades Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first-round pick in 2008 to Atlanta for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.
Considering how much the Penguins gave up in volume, this couldn't have gone much better. Sure, Hossa spurned the Pens for an offer from Detroit as a free agent in the summer, but he racked up 12 goals and 14 assists for Pittsburgh as they made it to the Stanley Cup final. More importantly, Dupuis is still around, having scored 89 regular-season goals with Pittsburgh while providing speed and solid defensive play.
The other side of the ledger: Armstrong was decent for a couple of years with Atlanta but Christensen lasted only 57 games with the Thrashers before moving on. Esposito couldn't escape serious injury, and the first-round pick, Daultan Leveille, is just starting his minor pro career after tearing knee ligaments while at Michigan State.
Result: Penguins beat Detroit in Stanley Cup final.
Fires Michel Therrien, promotes AHL coach Dan Bylsma.
The popular Bylsma is still coaching the team.
Trades Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.
Whitney held great promise but was made expendable with the return of Sergei Gonchar from a serious injury and the continued development of Kris Letang. Whitney was gone to Edmonton after just 95 games spread over two seasons with the Ducks.
The trade just keeps on giving. Kunitz was a good secondary scorer to begin with, but has taken his game into overdrive this season thanks to linemate Sidney Crosby, compiling 19 goals and 23 assists in 34 games.
Trades a conditional pick to the New York Islanders for Bill Guerin.
Guerin got another Cup after a solid spring (7 goals, 8 assists) and played an additional season with Pittsburgh while the Isles repackaged the pick and it ended up with Phoenix (the player is goalie Mike Lee, currently in the AHL).
Picks up Craig Adams off waivers.
Adams played every game in the Stanley Cup run and has missed less than a handful of games since, providing the Pens with energy and penalty-kiling skill.
Result: Penguins beat Senators 4-2 in first round, lose to Canadiens 4-3 in second round.
Trades with Toronto for forward Alex Ponikarovsky, giving up Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula.
Ponikarovsky averaged 20 goals with the Leafs but managed just three in 27 games before signing a contract with Los Angeles. But the cost ended up being negligible, as prospect Caputi didn't pan out.
Trades second-round pick to Florida for defenceman Jordan Leopold.
Leopold, like Ponikarovsky, moved on after fewer than 30 games, to a contract with Buffalo. The Panthers with the pick selected Connor Brickley, still playing NCAA hockey this season.
Result: Penguins lose to Lightning 4-3 in first round.
Trades to Ottawa for Alex Kovalev for a seventh-round pick.
The move costed a song, and the results reflect that fact. Kovalev had three goals and six assists in 27 games before moving on.
Trades Alex Goligoski to Dallas for forward James Neal, defenceman Matt Niskanen.
Neal could not get it going in the year that he was acquired — just two goals in 27 games, although one was an OT winner — but he's forged chemistry with Evgeni Malkin since last season. Neal has 57 goals in his last 114 regular-season games and was given a contract extension.
Niskanen has been a depth defenceman for Pittsburgh, while Goligoski has not taken his game to another level in Dallas. Just a complete win for the Penguins.
Result: Penguins lose to Flyers 4-2 in first round.
No major moves made by Shero.
Despite an impressive win streak — 13 games as of March 28 — Shero shakes things up by acquiring forward Brenden Morrow (Dallas), defenceman Doug Murray (San Jose) and career-long Calgary Flame Jarome Iginla.
The cost: prospects Joseph Morrow, Ben Hanowski, Kenneth Agostino, three draft picks in this June's draft (first, third and fifth rounds), and a second-round pick in 2014.
In previous weeks, Pittsburgh gained a seventh rounder in 2013 and a fifth rounder in 2014 by sending Tangradi to Winnipeg and Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim.
It may look one-sided on paper, but it's important to point out that the trio of veterans Pittsburgh acquired are all unrestricted free agents this summer.
It remains to be seen if we will look back at these deals as another coup for Shero. We will know as early as June as the Penguins gun for a fourth Stanley Cup for the franchise.