Say thanks to Billy Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko and Craig Adams.
But don’t just say it because they came back. Sure, we’re grateful for that. However, all three took pay cuts to stay with the team.
It allows for more cap room in an NHL economy that isn’t so great. There’s also the comfort of having chemistry as the top three lines are under contract.
The way things look right now look pretty similar to last year. It’s not a bad image to build upon.
Assuming coach Dan Bylsma decides to use some of the same matchups next year, this is roughly how the lines will look — barring any other moves in free agency or via trades.
Chris Kunitz — Sidney Crosby — Bill Guerin
Ruslan Fedotenko — Evgeni Malkin — Maxime Talbot
Matt Cooke — Jordan Staal — Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis — Craig Adams — Mike Rupp/Eric Godard
Brooks Orpik — Sergei Gonchar
Kris Letang — Mark Eaton
Alex Goligoski — ??????????????
Now, there’s still a chance GM Ray Shero will make a trade. He said yesterday that he’s not ruling it out.
I believe he’s 100% planning on it.
The Pens have been pretty quiet in free agency. They’ve seen a couple guys go and have signed a few from last year. However, there’s no new faces outside of Mike Rupp.
His presence likely means more are coming.
There’s no reason for Eric Godard and Rupp to be on the same team. It’s a waste of a roster spot.
Each team needs only one enforcer and that’s basically what both of them are. It’s obvious Godard’s the better enforcer of the two. However, he’s probably gone. That is, unless Rupp is just a pon in Shero’s free-agency chess game — which is very possible (Rupp is set to earn $50,000 more than Godard).
Assuming that’s not the case, Godard is out of here.
There have been whispers about Pascal Dupuis being part of a deal as well. It’s tough to say, but I’d like to see him around next year.
He’s a guy that you can throw on any line. He’s familiar with almost every forward and if someone goes down to injury you’ll be pretty glad you kept him around.
Now, getting back to thanking Guerin, Fedotenko and Adams. They combined to take a cut of $3.1 million from their salaries last year.
There’s roughly $2.9 million in cap space left. That means probably one solid free agent d-man.
Who should the Penguins sign? It’s very tough to say. It sure would be nice to find another guy open to taking a bit of a cut to hitch a ride with a winner.
That’s really not necessary, though. The Pens have enough cash to land a decent player.
ThePensBlog recommended these two: Jay McKee and Francois Beauchemin.
McKee played the last three years in St. Louis and was pretty solid. The last two seasons he averaged nearly 70 games played a season. He’s by no means an offensive guy, which is probably a good match with a guy like Alex Goligoski.
Beauchemin is a higher-profile guy than McKee. He’s spent the last four season in Anaheim and has also been solid. He missed a lot of time last year, though.
Playing behind Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer, Beauchemin didn’t get much of a chance to showcase any offensive talent. Many believe he has the talent to produce offensively when he gets out of their shadow.
Time will tell.
It’s awesome being able to insert pictures of the Pens hoisting the Cup.
Chris | PPT
“IN SHERO WE TRUST”