May 13, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) shoots the puck against the New York Rangers during the second period in game seven of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 2-1 and took the series 4 games to 3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Penguins to trade first round pick?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have a lot of wheeling and dealing ahead of them. New GM Jim Rutherford must capitalize on the team having two of the best centers in the world playing in their prime years by making aggressive moves that will better the Pittsburgh roster in the present. In so doing, the GM may have to let go of his only draft pick in the first three rounds of the 2014 NHL draft.

Rutherford told Josh Yohe of Trib-Live Sports, “We will trade that pick if it can help us get a player who can help us immediately,” in reference to the team’s 22nd overall selection in Friday’s first round of the draft. The team lacks a second or third round pick thanks to trades brokered by former Pens GM Ray Shero in the last two seasons for Douglas Murray and Lee Stempniak.

While the Penguins could trade that pick for a viable veteran, it appears the team could lose a couple veterans of their own once the free agency period begins on July 1. Mat Niskanen and Jussi Jokinen will both explore their options while GM Jim Rutherford looks for more help both on the bench and behind it. “It will be (a problem) if we don’t have a coach by July 1,” Rutherford said.

The team may not have a coach yet, but they still have a first round pick, which will hold some weight on Friday. We’ll see how much the Penguins use that leverage to land another top six player to pair with centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

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Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

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