Free Agency – Defense

Rob Scuderi (‘The Piece’), Philippe Boucher and Hal Gill.

Three more big names for the Penguins.  Each played a significant role in both the regular season and postseason.

As I guestimated in the forward scenario, Shero might be able to make a couple signings for around $4 million.  If that’s the case, he has roughly $5.3 million left in cap space.

Defense seems to be a pretty big issue.

Click read more for a breakdown of each defensive free agent and my take on who can/should be signed and who should sail off into the free agent market.

The following are the returning defensemen and their salaries for the 2009-10 season:

Sergei Gonchar – 5.5 mil
Brooks Orpik – 3.75 mil
Mark Eaton – 2 mil
Alex Goligoski – 1.8 mil
Kris Letang – 725k

= $13.775 million invested in defensemen

It’s nice to get Kris Letang at a bargain and if Goligoski can continue to develop at the NHL level, his $1.8 million salary will turn into a deal as well.

With those six signed, the following are free agents:

88035039MH035_Stanley_Cup_F

Rob Scuderi (earned $725,000 last year):  His performance this postseason, and even all season long, has earned him the right to earn a number like Orpik’s $3.75 million.  He’s also just 30 years old, allowing for a more years of playing at a high level.  He is in his prime and likely will continue to improve.

There’s no doubt that this is ‘the guy’ that most fans are concerned about seeing back in a Penguins uniform next year.  He’s kind of like last year’s Ryan Malone.  Many wonder if he’s willing to take a bit of a pay cut to stick around for more championships.  It’s so hard to tell.

Of anyone, you would have thought Malone would be the guy to take that discount, considering he grew up in Pittsburgh.  Thus, everyone can talk real confident about Scuderi’s situation, but reality is that there’s no way to tell what he’s thinking.

NHL/

Philippe Boucher (earned $2.5 million last year):  This guy’s gone … at least he should be.  He’s getting old and, if you’ve ever read anything on this blog, you know I’m not a fan of him.  He gave the Pens some key minutes in the playoffs, there’s no doubt.  However, there’s not much he can add.  The only chance he sticks around is if he’s willing to take a hefty pay drop.

88035458KC011_Stanley_Cup_F

Hal Gill (earned $2.1 million last year):  His play during the second half of the season was impressive.  Gill gets alot of crap about being too big and slow, which sometimes is the case.  However, he really stepped up during the playoff run and was an integral part of the Stanley Cup victory.  The only questionable thing with him is his age (34 years old).  He’s getting older and who knows how he will perform two years down the road?

My Take

I don’t think the Penguins will be able to afford Rob Scuderi unless he’s willing to take a smaller salary.  If they pay him $3.75 million, which is what Brooks Orpik makes, the Penguins will be reduced to around $1.5 million of cap space.

However, if they choose to forgo Scuderi, they can sign Gill and have more cash to work with afterward.

I think that will be the case.

The Penguins will likely sign Gill for a number around $2 million, which frees up roughly $3.3 million of cap space.  With that, they can look at re-signing a prospect like Ben Lovejoy in Wilkes-Barre or browse the free-agent pool.

Don’t forget, there’s a backup goalie to sign too.  If the Pens are to re-sign Garon, they’ll probably need $1 million to do so.

It’s more important now than ever to have extra cap room.  For that reason, Scuds is probably gone.  It’s a shame.  We all loved him and obviously appreciated the consistency he brought to the rink every night.

However, I think Gill still has some gas left in the tank.  I also think that much of the front office is ready to utilize Go-Go all season.

Free agency begins July 1 people.  Get ready for the madness.

Chris | PPT

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3 thoughts on “Free Agency – Defense

  1. Pingback: Remembering the Madness « Pittsburgh Puck Talk

  2. WHY ON EARTH WOULD THE PENGUINS SIGN HAL GILL? HE IS THE WORST DEFENSEMAN IN THE NHL. HE LEADS THE LEAGUE IN TURNOVER TO GOAL MARGIN BY FAR. HE DOESNT PLAY TO AN NHL ABILITY STANDARD AND HE HAS ZERO HANDS. HE ALMOST SINGLE HANDIDLY BLEW THE STANLEY CUP FOR THE PENGUINS. HE CONSTANTLY THROWS THE PUCK INTO OPEN SPACE SOFT AS HELL AND ALLOWS BLUE LINERS TO PUCK UP THE PUCK AND EVENTUALLY SCORE. HE IS THE WORST POSSIBLE FREE AGENT U COULD SIGN. LET HIM GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND SUCK. TAKE HIS 2 MILLION SALARY. ALLOW THE 6 DEFENSEMAN YOU HAVE UNDER CONTRACT PLAY AND GO AFTER A WINGER LIKE GABORIK. I BET YOU GABORIK WOULD SIGN A LONG TERM DEAL FOR 4 MIL A YEAR TO PLAY IN PITTSBURGH. DO YOU EVEN WATCH HOCKEY? HOW ABOUT ONE OF THE SEDIN TWINS? WE DONT NEED DEFENSE BEING WE HAVE LETANG GOLIGOSKI AND JUST DRAFTED A 17 YEAR OLD PHENOM. ALONG WITH EATON AND GONCHAR WE SHOULD BE FINE. GET SERIOUS DUDE. HAL GILL IS THE WORST 2 MILLION DOLLARS EVER SPENT. HE IS SLOW , HE IS CONSTANTLY OUT OF POSITION AND HE IS SOFT AS HELL

  3. christophergates

    Well, the worst defenseman in the league was a plus-8 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I don’t know how you argue with that.

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