Rumor Roundup: Patrick Marleau’s future in San Jose still uncertain

Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton celebrate a goal for the San Jose Sharks

Following the end of the 2016 Stanley Cup final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks, it didn’t take long for speculation to begin over the Cup finalists’ off-season plans.

ESPN.com’s Craig Custance suggests the Penguins trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. With Matt Murray taking over as the starter during the playoffs and the Penguins carrying limited salary-cap room, they could consider moving the 31-year-old’s $5.75-million cap hit.

Custance believes Fleury could be “a great fit” with the Calgary Flames or Carolina Hurricanes. Both clubs need depth between the pipes and have depth in young talent and prospects to entice the Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari notes the Penguins could also move Fleury this summer in order to protect Murray in a possible expansion draft next June. He also speculates the veteran netminder could request a trade.

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Rumor Roundup: Expansion draft rules could force teams to move goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL is expected to announce its decision on a possible expansion to Las Vegas by June 22. More details recently emerged regarding the guidelines for an expansion draft that could affect this summer’s trade market .

It was originally believed players with no-movement clause carrying partial no-trade clauses (such as Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury) wouldn’t be protected from the draft. However, that only applies to players whose contracts expire at the end of 2016-17. That also includes those with full no-movement clauses. Those with contracts that run through 2017-18 must be protected.

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Will speed demon Penguins spawn a legion of NHL copycats?

Sidney Crosby (Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – Aside from the players themselves, there are a good number of 18-year-old kids who were thrilled to see the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup this spring.

Unless you follow the prospect world, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the likes of Will Bitten, Clayton Keller, Vitali Abramov, Alex DeBrincat and Rasmus Apslund yet. But you will. And depending on how many NHL teams try to copy the blueprint provided by this year’s Stanley Cup-winning Penguins, they might have a better chance to make the NHL than they ever have.

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Watch Kris Letang’s Stanley Cup-clinching goal, Penguins sing ‘We Are The Champions’

Jared Clinton
Kris Letang fires home the Stanley Cup-winning goal (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

As judged by Conn Smythe Trophy voters, Sidney Crosby was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ best forward — and best player — in the post-season, but it was Kris Letang who was undoubtedly the Penguins’ top blueliner throughout the post-season. It’s fitting then that Pittsburgh clinched the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup on a goal that saw Crosby and Letang link up.

With the Penguins having their second chance to close out the Sharks and take the Cup, Pittsburgh made sure to keep any glimmer of hope San Jose may have had to a minimum. The Penguins opened the scoring on a power play tally by Brian Dumoulin in the first period, but the SAP Center exploded less than seven minutes into the second frame when Logan Couture tied the game. But in a series where the Sharks trailed for the majority, Game 6 would be much the same.

From the moment the puck was dropped following Couture’s goal, the Penguins took over. Pittsburgh got possession, turned the puck up ice and skated circles around the San Jose zone, putting pucks on net and making Sharks netminder Martin Jones dart back and forth to cover his goal. After nearly 40 seconds of zone time, which included Letang showcasing some fancy footwork along the left wing wall, Crosby dug a puck out of the front of the net, swooped behind the goal and laid a perfect pass out front for Letang to one-time home: Read more

Sidney Crosby channels his inner Steve Yzerman to win Conn Smythe

Sidney Crosby (Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – Perhaps Sidney Crosby will never score 100 points ever again. Then again, maybe he will. If you go by analytics, logic states that his numbers should begin declining at some point pretty soon. But he proved in the Stanley Cup final, and by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, that he’s about so much more than numbers.

“I think Sidney Crosby’s best hockey is ahead of him,” said Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin.

Whoa there, cowboy. Best hockey ahead of him? Two Stanley Cups, two scoring championships, two Hart Trophies, a Conn Smythe, five 100-point seasons, two Olympic gold medals and a space waiting for his plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame and his best hockey is still ahead of him? Well, if you consider that Crosby has essentially turned himself into a Selke Trophy candidate and that he’s altered his entire game a la Steve Yzerman, perhaps that’s not as outlandish as it sounds.

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Cup-winning Penguins have sights on becoming NHL’s next dynasty

Pittsburgh Penguins (Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – It was a team that had one player who overcame thyroid cancer, another a stroke. A third player had to retire because of blood clots. It was a team of superstars and castoffs, one player who was run out of the so-called Center of the Hockey Universe. It was run by a guy who called himself a caretaker, then ended up remodeling the whole darn school. It was a team that was floundering until it fired its coach, then had to turn to 22-year-old kid with all of 13 games of NHL experience in the playoffs.

And now the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions. So they know a little something about staring down adversity. And they also know a little something about forming habits. This is Pittsburgh’s fourth Cup in the past 25 years, which doesn’t seem like much until you consider that the Detroit Red Wings are the only other team to win as many Cups as Pittsburgh in that time frame.

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Penguins finish off Sharks to win fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history

(Getty Images)

SAN JOSE – The city of Pittsburgh will hold a Stanley Cup parade later this week at its State Point Park and when it does, the good people of that city will have a chance to celebrate a franchise that has set a gold standard over the past quarter of a century.

The Penguins won the Cup Sunday night with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final and it was impossible to make the argument that the better team did not win this series. The Penguins, under new coach Mike Sullivan and a rebuilt roster, were so dominant in the Stanley Cup final that only Sharks goalie Martin Jones prevented it from being a laugher.

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Can Penguins close out series on the road?

Sidney Crosby (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have another chance to win their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history, and first since 2009, when they face the San Jose Sharks on the road in Game 6.

Trying to win a championship on the road late in a series doesn’t sound like the easiest of feats, but recent history may suggest otherwise.

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