For all the heat he’s taken this season, including some from this corner, it’s time to give Penguins GM Jim Rutherford a bit of credit. He’s tinkered extensively with his club, to the point that just 10 of the players who skated in Monday’s 6–2 win over Anaheim were on the team’s opening night roster. Thanks to a few trades, and a couple of strategic call-ups, these Pens are faster and deeper than at the start of the season. And with the arrival of coach Mike Sullivan, they finally appear comfortable in their own skin. It’s a good bet that Rutherford’s not done massaging the lineup yet. If he sees the Pens as contenders—and at this point, there’s no reason not to—he could be very active ahead of the deadline.
Biggest gain: Pittsburgh Penguins (11 to 6)
Biggest drop: Arizona Coyotes (16 to 29)
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