Pens' Hextall won't trade 1st-rounder to move salary before deadline
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall doesn't plan to part with a first-round pick or an equivalent to move salary out before the March 3 deadline.
"I would say that's not on the table," the GM said Sunday. "I haven't been asked for that, certainly. Conversations are starting to pick up (between) a lot of (teams) ... people are kind of looking to see what's out there ... but there's not a lot of teams right now that are looking to jump and kind of get down to the fine strokes here."
Hextall then reiterated he's not looking to jettison salary and later added that he won't make a trade unless he believes it will bolster the current club.
"It's really dangerous to feel like you have to make a deal because, quite frankly, you look at the history, and all of the sudden, you make a bad deal.
"(If) we can bring a piece in and we think it'll fit better with our group here and maybe connect a line, that's what we'll look to do, but ... I've never felt pressure to make a deal for the sake of making a deal."
The Penguins have numerous players on expiring contracts, most notably forward Jason Zucker - a pending unrestricted free agent with a $5.5-million cap hit - and defenseman Brian Dumoulin - a pending UFA with an AAV of $4.1 million - along with goaltender Tristan Jarry.
When asked if there was any scenario that could cause Pittsburgh to become sellers at the deadline and look at shipping out players like Zucker and Dumoulin, Hextall dreaded the thought.
"I certainly hope not," he said. "If we play the way we're capable of playing, I see us certainly making the playoffs. With injuries and with our inconsistencies this (season), it's a fair question, but ... when you look at our top players, for the most part, they've performed well."
The Pens hit the All-Star break sitting fifth in the Metropolitan Division by points but fourth by points percentage. They're three points behind the fourth-place Washington Capitals but have four games in hand. The club has suffered four straight opening-round eliminations in the postseason.
Pittsburgh has $18,430 in cap space but is projected to have $1.35 million of flexibility at the deadline, according to CapFriendly.
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