The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost a lot of depth in their bottom 6 this past offseason with the biggest losses; centers Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen.
At the start of the season, the third line center was Greg McKegg and winger Carter Rowney moved to center on the fourth line. Now, with all due respect to McKegg and Rowney, Pittsburgh will have very little chance of winning a third straight Stanley Cup with McKegg and Rowney as their depth centers. This prompted general manager Jim Rutherford to send over Scott Wilson and a pick to the Red Wings in exchange for center Riley Sheahan.
That pushes McKegg down to the fourth line but is Sheahan really the answer to the Penguins center problem?
In the first few games, the Penguins newly acquired center has looked solid but is he really a long term answer? Imagine if Crosby or Malkin got injured. Who would be comfortable with Riley Sheahan playing second line?
Well one option that no one is considering is a very underrated center in Colton Sissons. Penguin fans should remember this name considering Sissons was basically Nashville’s best center these past playoffs due to the injury to Ryan Johansen. His best game probably being game 6 of the Western Confrence Final where he scored a hat trick against the Anahiem Ducks.
He is a young player that plays with physicality and can also provide offense. He has a very good contract that can benefit Pittsburgh. Would Nashville give up a player like Sissons though? Yes they could.
Believe it or not Nashville has a lot of centers perfectly capable of playing bigger minutes. Obviously Johansen is their top guy and Nick Bonino is their second guy. Who would potentially be their third line center? Calle Jarnkrok. He could actually be their second line center considering his offensive production. Nashville’s fourth line could be centered be Austin Watson. So Nashville could afford to trade Sissons but what does Pittsburgh have that Nashville wants?
Nashville’s biggest weak points within their system is goaltending. Could the Penguins solve that problem? Matt Murray is obviously untouchable so that idea automatically goes out the window. Nashville would probably want a young goalie so that leaves out Casey DeSmith, leaving two options: Filip Gustavsson and Tristan Jarry.
It’s safe to say that Pittsburgh would unlikely give up Jarry considering that would leave Wilkes-Barre without a dependable goalie but what about Gustavsson?
He currently plays with Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League. Gustavsson was the top goalie of the 2016 draft and is known to some people as the “Swedish Carey Price”. So Gustavsson definitely has high potential to be a great goalie but will it be on a Pittsburgh team that will have Matt Murray in net for a very long time and also Tristan Jarry? Probably not.
Career-wise for Gustavsson he would probably be better off going to Nashville as he would be next in line to Pekka Rinne. Would Nashville take that trade? We may have to add a depth forward or late pick to fully convince Nashville. Someone like McKegg or Tom Kuhnhackl would suffice.
What Sissons would bring to the team is insurance and he’s still growing as a player and would have two great mentors Penguins fans have probably heard of.