Pittsburgh Penguins: It’s That Time Again…
Ah yes, it is that time again. The NHL season is quickly approaching and I am back from my hibernation. I love this time of the year for several different reasons and they all begin with the letter ‘N’. Yes, that’s right… NFL, NCAA Football, and the NHL. I am again privileged to be able to blog for a great website and about my favorite NHL team.
Let’s get started. For the Penguins, this years off season was much less stressful than last years. Less players left and more players took less money to stay or come to the Penguins. Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedetenko, Craig Adams, and Jay McKee (even though he didn’t take a discount, but the Pens got one because the St. Louis Blues bought him out from the final year of his contract). As seen in my previous off season post, below are the players who have come and gone.
Who they’ve gained/retained:
Ruslan Fedotenko (1 yr)
Bill Guerin (1 yr)
Craig Adams (2 yr)
Mike Rupp (2 yr)
Jay Mckee (1 yr)
Alex Goligoski (3 yr)
John Curry (2 yr)
This year, the Pens will have a target on their back. They are the Stanley Cup Champions and repeating will certainly not be easy. Fortunately though, they have most of their roster back so the team shouldn’t look too much different. Two things I will be paying close attention to are the contract negotiations going on for Sergi Gonchar and Kris Letang. Gonchar is currently making 5 million/yr and will be a UFA after this year. It has been rumored that Gonchar is willing to take less to stay with the Pens. How much less is still unknown.
Kris Letang, on the other hand, will be an RFA after this year and it has been rumored that he is looking for a contract worth $4 million/yr. That price is a little steep for a player who is still fine tuning some important skills but he is certainly someone I would want to stay with the Pens.
The bigger problem is how are the Pens going to fit them under the salary cap especially considering how much is currently being taken up by Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Brooks Orpik. It is also assumed that the salary cap is going to drop next year which will throw another wrench into the dilemma. Another blog I read frequently, pensburgh.com, has an article discussing this dilemma. It’s a good read if you’re interested.
That’s all for now. Training camp starts next week and the Pens are finishing up with their prospect tournament and camp. I am interested to see how these young players fit into the Baby Pens and I am sure we will see some of them up in the big club at certain times this year.
Let’s Go Pens!