Various sources tonight report the Pittsburgh Penguins have traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for goaltender Marc Cheverie, prospect Harrison Ruopp and a third round pick in this year’s entry draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Michalek returns to the Coyotes, where he began his NHL career and had his best seasons. He signed with the Penguins two years ago as an unrestricted free agent but failed to pan out with them. He has three more seasons at $4 million per remaining on his contract. Michalek’s return will only stoke speculation the Coyotes are shopping Keith Yandle for a scoring forward.
As for the Penguins, they’re obviously dumping salary in anticipation of a significant acquisition. Some pundits have linked them to New Jersey Devils winger Zach Parise if he hits the open market on July 1, but it’s rumored they’re also chasing Nashville Predators blueliner Ryan Suter, who’s also eligible for UFA status on July 1. Having dealt away Jordan Staal during the first round of the entry draft, it’s clear Penguins management will be aggressively pursuing other deals to bolster their lineup.