The Pittsburgh Penguins had one more hole to fill and did so by signing former Vancouver Canuck turned Washington Capital Matt Cooke to a two-year contract (Faceoff-Factor).
IOPS reports the contract is worth $1.2 million a year.
As a left winger Cooke rounds out Pittsburgh’s once depleted left wing position. In two days Ray Shero has suddenly provided his core of stars with many capable assets.
Cooke has played nine seasons in the NHL, nearly all of which have been spent in Vancouver and last year with Washington.
In nine years he averages almost 10 goals a season, though offense is not his forte. Cooke’s best year came in 2002-2003 when he compiled 42 pts. (15 G, 27 A) in 82 games (yahoo.com).
Cooke spent last year with Vancouver, but was dealt at the deadline to Washington. His totals were 23 pts. (10 G, 13 A) in 78 games.
From what I’ve read, he is a third line guy with scoring potential. However, his larger role seems to be the type Jarkko Ruutu used to provide: agitator.
Cooke had 91 total penalty minutes last season, and averages at least 70 a season in the NHL (in two seasons Cooke played less than 50 games).
After signing Eric Godard, Georges Laraque’s role seemed to be covered (although you really can’t replace the heavy-weight champion of the NHL). With this most recent signing, it seems as if Ray Shero has replaced the second half of last year’s toughness factor.
Cooke also has significant playoff experience, having played in 39 “second season” games. Playoff experience has been a common tie among nearly all of the Penguins free-agent signings.
At the moment it looks like he could easily be paired with Max Talbot and Eric Godard on a fourth line. The third line is also possible, but his scoring ability doesn’t seem like it would compliment Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy very well (if that is the third line next year).
His presence will undoubtedly be felt on the penalty kill, where he is highly praised for his abilities.
^Great video to a great song
His toothless grin should catch on quickly with Pens fans.