Malkin Needs a Winger Sooner Rather than Later – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Malkin Needs a Winger Sooner Rather than Later

Now that Evgeni Malkin has won the scoring title, barring Pavel Datsyuk getting 16 points today or Daniel Brier registering 82.  Ray Shero needs to get off his keister and start the search for a quality scoring winger.

For the last two years the Penguins have spent the bulk of the regular season searching for a Scoring winger for Sidney Crosby’s line and making deadline deals to secure that winger for him.  A season ago the Penguins got Marian Hossa who was a fantastic fit, but lost him to free agency, even though Shero threw tons of money at him.

This year the Penguins signed Kunitz and Guerin, Chris Kunitz is signed for three more years and Guerin, like Hossa will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and probably will be playing somewhere else next year.  The fact is that in the upcoming season Crosby will have a quality scoring, play making winger on his line all season, something that Malkin has had for the last two.

Petr Sykora is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and is looking to sign a deal with the Penguins.  He has said in the past that he wants to re-sign with the Penguins just to play with Malkin, but seriously who wouldn’t want to play with the leagues Art Ross Trophy winner. 

Ray Shero needs to make a decision.  Do you try to sign Sykora now or do you try to go for the gold in the summer free agent market.  Right now Sykora is in a slump of slumps, which is very odd because everyone knows that players play 10 times better the year their contract is up. He only has 3 goals and 2 assists in the last 20 games, that’s 1/4 of the season.  Carry the one multiple by and add 3 that would figure to be 12 goals 8 assists or 20 points on the season, that’s no way to finish your contract year and is definitely not the numbers of a guy who played the whole season on a line with the scoring champion.

There is a rumor that Sykora’s shoulder is injured, and about twelve games ago he was scheduled to sit out because of it, but never did. He has missed a few practices. If that is true then Sykora could come back good as ever next season.  If it’s not true, you really have to wonder if it would be wise to sign Sykora.

The best option for Shero would be to sign Sykora now, and try to get someone in the free agent market.  If we get someone in the free agent market, trade Sykora, trade him for a bag of pucks if you need, just get his salary paid for.  It would be like we never signed him anyway.  If we don’t get a better free agent, then Malkin still has his winger for the season and all is well.

The worst option would be having Malkin go all year without a quality winger like Crosby has gone the last two.

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  1. DR Hook's Gravatar DR Hook
    April 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    There is a thought that that goes along with the “sign him to trade him” that makes it a bad idea to do those things. (a) If you sign him to a fair contract why would you want to trade him, and (b) If you do those things the word spreads around the NHL like wildfire. Like it was in Washington for years. For a while it was thought that Washington’s GM caused a lot of player dissension by screwing with players. I don’t know if McPhee still does that but with McPhee and Ron Wilson they made moves more likely to be found in dinosaur workplaces. Just two years ago they had a problem with Ovechkin (Hanlon, not Wilson in this case) where they took that problem to the Washington Post. There was the Calle Johnasson episode where Johnasson refused to follow direct orders from Randy Caryle. That cost them a series. Wilson screwing with Adan Oates… McPhee and Hanlon screwing with Eminger is another. I think that you treat players fairly and it comes back to you in spades. And that works two ways… it goes for players also. For example… Hossa had every right to sign with who he wanted but he screwed with the Penguins and that forced Shero to take other measures with Satan and Fedotenko. Hossa could have let Shero know what he intended and Shero could have taken other actions earlier. What comes around goes around and not that it’s that big of a deal to me but I would like to have the Pens beat Detroit in the Finals this year… second to that I’d like to see Hossa eliminated in the first round while the Penguins continue on. It would serve Maid Marian right.

  2. April 13, 2009 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Sykora only scored 4 less goals than he did last season…but his assists are way down…and this slump is really worrisome.

    I think signing him with the intention of trading him is probably the best idea. There may not be many headliners in the UFA pool that the Pens have much of a chance of signing, but this is all given that the GMRS can’t pry away an RFA, particularly one that might be anxious for a change of scenery.

    Afinogenov, Cole, Booth, Cammalleri, Gionta, Knuble(old), T.Ruutu…all UFAs. There are some players out there that would probably look good in a Pen’s jersey. Signing any of them is proabably along the same pipe dream lines as re-signing Hossa though.

    I’m really interested to see what happens with Gaborik. He was at 7.5m, but who knows what he’ll get on the market. That sure is a waste of money if he never plays…

    It’d be great if Tangradi and Caputi can step in and legitimately fill some roles, but at this point, who knows. Tangradi’s ranked 23rd over at Hockey’s Future, but they seem to think he’s going to need a season in the AHL, but I remember the same comments about Staal for a while too.

  3. DR Hook's Gravatar DR Hook
    April 12, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Every year is different but I think we could be looking at 2 right wings. Would you resign Billy Guerin if we went out in the first or second round? Same as with Sykora… however, Sykora @ $2.5 million for 2-years wouldn’t be too awfully bad. Or, would it.
    With the salary cap about to take a nose-dive it’s quite possible that the Pens look more within the organization. Having Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fluery down the middle you can be very selective of how to fill those RW and LW spots.

    The UFA pool has only three big name RW players: Gaborik and Hossa (at approx. $7.5 million) are out of the question and so is Havlat @ $6 million. Two of them are band-aid players and Hossa may be joining that band-aid group. Possibly it’s Cuputi and/or Tangradi who end-up on those first two lines. Tangradi is juicing it up in the OHL playoffs right now… Belleville is now facing Brampton for the OHL Eastern Conference Championship… Tangradi has 8 goals and 12 assists in 11 games. That’s not too shabby.


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