TOUGH DECISIONS – the STANLEY CUP Pittsburgh Penguin Offseason… – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

TOUGH DECISIONS – the STANLEY CUP Pittsburgh Penguin Offseason…

The Parade is over and the memories will linger on forever yet the team management gets no rest.
The Secondary Awards Banquet is tomorrow… the Entry Draft next week… and Free Agency about a week later so there is no time to rest for Ray Shero and his management team.
What should they do?  Let’s first lay a few assumptions out there… that the Salary Cap remains at $56.7 million and our current Salary Cap Hit is $46.835 million.

The Pens have (10) players… Satan, Sykora, Fedotenko, Guerin, Zigomanis, Adams, Gill, Boucher, Scuderi, and Garon as UFA’s that were on the final roster. Plus, a few other UFA’sPesonen, Taffe, and Minard who were at WB/S.  They also have (4) RFA’sGoligoski, Lovejoy, Bissonnette, and Curry. That’s (14) players and contracts where decisions need to be made.
That’s why we are here – to help Shero make his decisions!  You do know that this is where he comes for advice, right.

Let’s start with who not to keep. In others words no contract offered.  I have selected (5) players:

  • Bill Guerin… it’s a great story and the media is filled with his joy over being a part of this. But at $4 to $5 million and 2-years?? No way. We just cannot afford him… it’ s as simple as that.
  • Petr Sykora… he’s contributed over the last two years but it’s a no can do either. It doesn’t appear that Disco Dan has confidence in him either.
  • Miroslav Satan… handled himself very professionally when sent down to WB/S but he was sent down. That tells you that he won’t be back.
  • Philippe Boucher… he was just a replacement to get Sydor out of here. He will not be re-signed.
  • Mike Zigomanis… I know, I know – he’s a great face-off specialist. He also lacks speed and I say don’t bother.

See, that’s (5) down… now that you are over any Billy Guerin shock you may have had it’s clear to see that some of this is about money while some of it isn’t.

Second are those players on the fence. Depending on contract length and amount and dependant on what others do… we could sign them. But, I would think that chances are not to sign them holds a higher percentage.  I have () players in this group:

  • Hal Gill… another calming influence veteran player but with each game appeared to get slower. Maybe possibly a one-year depending if Scuderi doesn’t sign but maybe not that either.
  • Mathieu Garon… most would have him on the do not sign. I, however, worry about our goaltending depth behind Fluery. He could easily fit into the do not sign depending on what Disco DAN thinks of John Curry.
  • John Curry… late blooming (small) goalie. Again, I think this decision comes down totally to Disco Dan’s call. If Curry signed, Garon is not.
  • Rod Scuderi… a lot of this depends on Scuderi. This is after all a business and Scuderi is his own product. I’m sure his agent is working out the best deal possible. Depending what he will accept to stay – I see him possibly being gone. These are the toughest of decisions but you can’t afford to pay way too much, either. Both Gill and Scuderi could be lost.
  • Craig Adams… some may not care for him but at $600k on a 4th line – he brings some toughness and energy that every team needs. If he wants more than that – let him go.
  • Ben Lovejoy… this is also a little about Gill and Scuderi. But it’s also about Disco DAN and whether Lovejoy can fill either of those defenseman’s skates.

Third are the players we should sign (being of fair value) – and what it will do to our salary cap hit. I have only selected only (1) positive signing:

  • Ruslan Fedotenko… what we’ve have learned is that Fedotenko is a gamer and lifts his play. He plays well with Malkin and is just 30 years old with his name on the Cup twice. His last contract was for $2.250 million… I’d offer a 3-year at $3.5 million. This would bring the Salary Cap hit to $50.335 million. Leaving only $6.365 million under and all of a sudden everyone see’s the problem here. Right?  That’s why my list only contains (1) player.

You were looking for someone else here? I believe Goligoski is a priority BUT if he gets an offer from someone maybe we take the draft picks with him too.

There are players to sign and some extensions possibly worked out with Gonchar for instance and Kris Letang who will be a RFA next season. Shero and the players themselves all know that in this day of the new NHL and the CBA and with the liklihood the salary cap likely to go down next season that it takes a good management group to keep the team going.  Even teams like the Red Wings who get players to play for less (?) are going to have major problems and IMHO have screwed the pooch with some of those lomg terms they’ve handed out.

This is a core-group team of Fluery, Orpik, Letang, Staal, Malkin, and Crosby… with a few key contributors like Talbot – and most haven’t recognized that Letang has made the core-group yet. The support at the wings on each line are going to change quite a bit every year and we had better get used to it.

Anyone else have a different opinion?

This is DR Hookcarry on.

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  1. mariorules's Gravatar mariorules
    June 30, 2009 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Good move on Billy Guerin. 2 million for 1 year is a great deal for the Pens and for him. I really hope that with all this money being “saved” on these 2 deals (Guerin and Adams) and on not signing UFA’s like Sykora, Satan and Boucher, the Penguins can hopefully resign:

    1st: Fedotenko.

    2nd: Scuderi (and I see no reason for him to ask for a big raise, as for much of his heroics in Game 6 final seconds, he’s still a very “average” player, really… I mean, c’mon… his goalie impersonation in Game 6 shouldn’t let us forget his bad decisions/giveaways made all year long).

    3rd: A skilled RW, through a trade or Free Agency. Really, I don’t see Talbot playing consistent offense in the Fedotenko (hopefully) – Malkin line. And neither Guerin producing so much in the Kunitz – Crosby line, as both Guerin and Kunitz are more 2-way players than high-scoring wingers.

  2. Boombastic's Gravatar Boombastic
    June 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    The last EVER Hartford Whaler draft chice is alive for 2 more years. Craig Adams signed today.

  3. pens4829's Gravatar pens4829
    June 26, 2009 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I think trading Gonchar would not be a smart move at all. Seeing how the penguins played without him for the first half of the year defiently contributed to the not so stellar first half. Though, sometime in the near future i do see the penguins moving on and letting goligoski take over the power play. i think Disco Dan has faith in him and some other young defenseman (Lovejoy) to step up and play at a high level if some of the free agents cannnot be retained.
    Ray Shero is going to need to work his magic again this offseason to retain the right free agents and if need be sign players from elsewhere. Ruslan Fedetenko and Rob Scuderi should be the top priorities of the penguins. Those two really came on strong during the playoff run and proved their worth. If those two can be retained, i believe singing back Craig Adams would be a smart move. At only 600 K, he provides a solid 4th liner with good hands and can definetly be physical. Those i would like to see go include : Satan, Sykora,and Bocuher for sure as these players have all seen there better days and no longer can help the penguins significantly. Zigomains is a maybe for me because of our already strong play up the middle. Curry i believe can become a capable back-up and i believe he will be, Disco Dan knows what Curry can do as seen in WB/S.Also,increasing the length of Kris Letang’s contract must be near the top of the list because he become a soild piece of the penguins young core.Lastly, Bill Guerin, if he is willing to take a pay cut to make another run at the cup, god bless him, he would be a nice compliment to Sid and we’ll still have to Kunitz to count on for a point a night.
    Shero has a tough job this summer but i believe he is up for the task. As seen in years past hes seem to make all the right moves and hopefuly he continues to do that starting with the draft and moving into free agency.Lets Go Pens!

  4. langescores's Gravatar langescores
    June 22, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I don’t agree with some peoples’ idea of trading Gonchar…he is a clear leader on and off the ice, not to mention the most integral part of our powerplay. You lose way to much in unloading him, things that aren’t replaced by Goligoski (who I’m a huge fan of), he is just not ready to fill in the ice time and effect a player like Sarge has on a game.
    A huge problem we had last year was controlling the puck out of our defensive zone and through the neutral zone, Sarge lays crisp passes in transition that create chances everywhere…without him we lose that and the puck stays in front of Flower.

    I would like to see Ziggy signed, I bet Disco Dan agrees, they are similar players (Bylsma was never the fastest on the ice either, but he made up for it in his effort). Ziggy would be a hard nosed player and we need a faceoff expert in both offensive and defensive circles.
    Im big on staying with Fedo, he complements Geno too well to split that pair up, and their chemistry is only getting better.
    Guerin is probably gone and Im okay with that, just too expensive…DR Hook nailed that one too.
    I have faith in Lovejoy, don’t turn your back on the leading plus/minus guy in the AHL last year…that doesn’t come easy. That in mind, I think Gill is most likely gone…I like his big body out front but he has been beaten to the net too often by players that know how to get there.
    It will be expensive but Rob is a guy we should offer some good money and years. He saved the cup for us about seven times by picking up loose pucks about to be buried behind Flower…and if all else fails maybe he has a future in net (kidding, but he was impressive in game six). His awareness out there rivals sarge’s and he showed a physical side to his game that completes his defensive wrap sheet.
    Shero is the man and I trust him completely. I can’t wait to see his take on this offseason.

  5. A Slick's Gravatar A Slick
    June 22, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The rumors are floating and a couple blogs are now releasing salary offers like they were fly’s on the wall of GM/player agent negotiations. Like Fedotenko and Guerin have agents who seeked these bloggers to give them the information. Then posters start to run with it quoting these bloggers who really have zero track record.
    The key has been presented very clearly here makes this a pretty good web site but some of the comments posted are like it wasn’t understood that well. Many hockey publications and bloggers are now understanding how foolish some teams have been and how they have been totally screwed by giving foolish contracts to players and other poor decisions. All these suggestions in regard to who will give hometown discounts and who we will sign on the FA market get pretty silly when you study that salary cap. I think Hook is closer to what will really happen than many I’ve read. Teams have to draft well and keep searching for prospects (like Janne Pesonen, for example) and then work to get those prospects into the system much faster than the past. Some teams get this and others just don’t. Shero appears to have a solid grasp on it and is lucky to have Fluery, Crosby, Malkin and Staal. I still believe the trade of Whitney to include Tangradi was because of the no draft of last year.

  6. mariorules's Gravatar mariorules
    June 22, 2009 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Well, what’s really hard for a team that won a chamionship (cap or no cap), hockey or any other team sport for that matter, is to resign players that were on the championship team. In the Penguins case, the UFA’s. They feel that they deserve more, because they just helped the team won a championship. On the other hand, as evidenced in many cases along history (Hossa’s the most recent), it’s just a little bit easier for the same champion to sign outside players, maybe for less money, “luring” them into the idea that they can win a championship with the current champion. It’s simple. But the cap makes things a little more complicated.

    Let’s forget players-under-contract for a second. That means no talks about trading Kunitz, or Eaton, or whoever that has a contract with the Pens. And I mean, they helped A LOT in winning the Stanley Cup. Without Kunitz, there wouldn’t be the play that originated the winning goal by Tabot in Game 7, and without it, most probably there wouldn’t be a Stanley Cup. But enough about these players, let’s just focus on the UFA’s now.

    The basic idea is to try to keep the defense AIAP (as intact as possible). That means keeping Scuderi. Which can become kind of a problem if he asks too much. And then there’s Gill. Although slow, the guy is huge and makes a helluva job in wiping the goal mouth off opposing players. So it’s either find a way to sign him too, or get another defensive-defenseman through free-agency or trading. Again, I don’t think it’s wise to trade any of the signed players… MAYBE Dupuis and/or Godard (although I suspect Dupuis will have a hard time finding another team with that Stanley Cup Penguins new tattoo of his… especially if Shero intends to trade him to Philadelphia or Washington or Detroit, for that matter… just kidding 😉 )

    Anyway, I think this first 2 UFA’s are the 1st priority in Shero’s book, and then Fedotenko. I agree with all the “goners” that DR Hook cited, except for Guerin OR Sykora. I think that one of these is a must-stay. But I also guess that if they aim to high in the new contract, well… then it’s bye-bye both and try to get a RW from free-agency. I don’t think any of these youngsters are good enough to produce on the Crosby-Kunitz line, IMO.

    Backup goaltender, another problem. And to this one, I have no ideas, sorry 🙁 I don’t think that Curry can be the ideal backup for Fleury. If Fleury gets injured (God forbids…), then we’re screwed with Curry. Not the case of Garon though, although I think his salary is already too high, and I don’t see him accepting a pay cut, so…

  7. shoot66's Gravatar shoot66
    June 21, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    First Ray has got to find a way to re-sign Scuderi, because all the d- men we have other than Orpik are offensive minded, Who’s going to kill penalties?? Alex??Letang?? I was joking about Kolzig, but they need a vet back-up, Garon looked crappy in his couple of starts, and he’ll want around $1 million. I liked what I saw from Wallace when he was out there he hit everyone and gave his all, yeah Kunitz hits everyone but he scored one goal after the long road trip, they need a SCORING winger for Sid, if you get rid of Eaton and Kuntiz, Ray can sign Rob.

  8. shoot66's Gravatar shoot66
    June 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Thius is what Dan and Ray need to do trade Kunitz(hasn’t done a thing since the game in Chicago) and Eaton and maybe Pacal, that’s $6 million right there, re-sign Ruslan for two years max.
    Try to get Billy to sign for $3 mill one year, But they have to re-sign Scuderi and just maybe he takes a discount for another shot next year.



    Fleury- Vet cheap back-up: Kolzig?

    • Ron Malore's Gravatar Ron Malore
      June 21, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I think Hook’s overall comment is that we are salary cap pressed to do all these things most things that are suggested in the media.
      I think Fedotenko and Kunitz give something of major value to the top two lines and that is the ability to score goals AND the ability to come back and play defense. Both are solid two-way players.
      Why some here are jumping on Kunitz I can’t understand. He got about a point a game after he got here and quite frankly is one of the most physical players on the team. Fedotenko signing is questionable because of cap reasons same as with Scuderi.
      These are only my opinion but Eaton really rose up and played like Shero thought he could. That was a pretty serious injury he overcame.
      Comparing Guerin’s stats to Kunitz stats I think some of you would be surprised to see that Kunitz’s are better. Same as comparing Kunitz to Fedotenko.

      Wallace?? Minard?? Kolzig?? You are joking, right.

  9. Kutdacheez's Gravatar Kutdacheez
    June 19, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    (4) centers: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Talbot . . . all good coaches change lines like most people change their socks.

    No signing of Fedotenko, Zigomanis, Guerin, Scuderi, Gill, Satan, Sykora, or Garon. Maybe sign Adams. Letang should get anextention worked out before the season starts. This goes along with Hook except no Fedotenko either. That’s how I see it. Just for kicks we should offer Hossa $3.5 for 3-years!

  10. June 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Here’s how I think the lines are going to pan out next year:

    Fedotenko – Malkin – Talbot (why mess up a line that works)
    Kunitz – Crosby – *new signing
    Cooke – Staal – Kennedy (why mess up a line that works)
    Dupuis – Zigomanis – Godard/Adams

    Orpik – Goligoski
    Eaton – Letang
    Gill – Scuderi/Lovejoy

    Fluery – Garon

    Right off the bat everyone is putting Crosby’s line first, Malkin won the regular and playoff scoring titles. Malkin’s line is now 1a. If Crosby wants it back he’ll have to earn it. This could be a very healthy competition.

    *I think Shero will be trading Gonchar for cap room and maybe a winger for Crosby. Goligoski proved under pressure in the playoffs that he could helm the powerplay and Goligoski led Bylsma’s WBS to the Calder Cup Championship a year ago so Bylsma knows what he can do.

    Guerin slept through half of the season with the Isles, he’s 39, he would not survive a full season on the new high tempo Penguins, and his price is way to steep, I bet he would not take the $1.5 mil he would be worth in Penguin value compared to what other teams would pay him.

    Sykora’s 2 million could be better spent combined with the Gonchar savings on a strong scoring winger for Crosby’s line. There are some great players out there.

    Garon will be signed at 1 mil, if you take Curry, then WBS doesn’t even have 1 goaltender. Garon will be signed.

    Scuderi will most likely receive an offer from another team way above what he’s worth, paving the way for the AHL’s top plus minus guy Ben Lovejoy. I would love it if Scuderi stayed though.

    Gill will be resigned for two years at the same price he’s being payed now.

    Fedetenko proved his worth and had a fantastic playoff run, not his first fantastic playoff run. This guy should be the priority of the signings if you could consider any a major priority.

    Zigomanis I think will come in cheap and will be a fourth line guy.

    Satan – gone. Boucher – gone. Pesonen, most likely gone because of price. Minard, might sign cheap. Taffe, most likely signed cheap.

    I’m hoping Shero will get Crosby a scoring winger before the season starts so he can have a great year.

    • Boombastic's Gravatar Boombastic
      June 19, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Interesting note on keeping Garon over Curry which only KULT SKATER (so far) has listed Curry. Ty Conklin is a UFA who signed a 1-year at $750k. (Now) if he ain’t the JINX (instead of Hossa) like DR Hook suggested he might be – why not offer a 3-year at $750k? The reason he was allowed to go after last season was that we had Saborin already signed.
      I should have been offered Chuck Fletcher’s job! Boom -Boom -Boom.

    • Ron Malore's Gravatar Ron Malore
      June 19, 2009 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      I respectfully disagree with your ‘hint’ that Shero will trade Gonchar. First of all—- we all saw what no Gonchar looks like and it wasn’t pretty. When Gonchar came back from the shoulder injury the team clicked. When Gonchar decided to play with an MCL tear a score a critical goal he became bigger than life. Gonchar is the vet presence on the defense and IMO will go to the HOF. To this day I can’t believe that Washington dumped him. This guy is solid as a rock and is more of a leader than many give him credit. He stays out of the limelight and was a key to Malkin becoming adjusted to life here as he stayed in Gonchar’s house like Crosby in Lemieux’s. I think I go along with Hook’s idea of working out contract extensions with both Gonchar and Letang—- this season. Although in hockey today nothing would surprise me. I think you are not giving Gonchar’s contribution the merit it deserves and maybe too much to Goligoski who IMO hasn’t ‘proved’ anything yet. The organEYEzation has the confidence in him and I think the fans do too— lot’s of potential but hasn’t proved he can assume the (helm) leadership on the PP at this level, yet.
      Who would you suggest (scoring winger) we trade him for?

      • mariorules's Gravatar mariorules
        June 19, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I agree. I mean, if to get a scoring RW, we need to trade Gonchar, then it’s best to either try to keep Sykora or Guerin with a pay cut. If that’s not an option, well… then just put ANYBODY from the minors on RW. Trading away Gonchar is a big mistake.

    • RapidPenguin's Gravatar RapidPenguin
      June 19, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I can’t see them making Crosby’s line #2. He is the Captain and leader on that team, as well as the face of the franchise. I don’t take anything away from Geno….However, could it be that Malkin sometimes has the success he does have by playing on the 2nd line as a first line center?

  11. A Slick's Gravatar A Slick
    June 18, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I think $3.5 million and the $2.5 miilion for Fedotenko is too high of an offer. I would think $2.0 million at 4-years would be more in the ballpark of fair and affordable.
    I also don’t think Guerin or Sykora or Satan should be signed, however, I think a fair offer to Scuderi should be out there. What fair in his case is I’m not so sure.

    • langescores's Gravatar langescores
      June 22, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I agree that Rob deserves a solid offer….that being said I think Gill is a calming voice on the team but has been caught out of position by teams that know how to get to the net and may have to be let go. Call me crazy but I am a big Adams supporter…solid penalty killing and good with the puck. I don’t think he would be too expensive and he should be resigned.

  12. Ron Malore's Gravatar Ron Malore
    June 18, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    One of the funniest things are some of these “well known” websites like TSN.ca claiming that the Penguins “need everything” when it comes to the Entry Draft. While your post isn’t about the Entry Draft I think what some of the media are missing is just how young this team’s key players are. There is no doubt that we traded away players we drafted with first picks e.g. Esposito, Armstrong, Whitney, along with last year’s 29th overall (and but we’ve also made some very wise draft choices and whereas our prospects are playing other teams still have draft picks taken in those years in their farm system. I think Whitney could make our team but Armstrong, Christensen, Esposito??? I don’t think so. Not on the first two lines anyway. The Pens also have prospects with a pretty good expectation level. Tangradi, Cuputi and Jeffery will get serious shots to make the team this year. Caputi may be that sniper and Jeffery has always had a low profile for some reason. Keeping $$$ in reserve below the cap will be a major key to next year and the year after.

    • A Slick's Gravatar A Slick
      June 18, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Jeffery is going to surprise a lot of folks in camp this season. My prediction.

      June 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The Salary Cap is the trigger as to why we are seeing so many players getting into the NHL at an early age.
      The reasoning is that these entry-level contracts are showing that these kids are much more economically feasible than some veteran that would fill the same role. I think we will see even more teams around the league seeing draft picks make the jump if not in the first then the second year after signing. For sure, much earlier than in the past. I think there were 10 or 11 players from the last draft play in the NHL last season. Maybe more.

  13. mariorules's Gravatar mariorules
    June 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    So, if the Penguins release all these UFA (I agree with Boucher, Satan and one more RW, but not 2… plus all the others I’m not sure about), EVEN then there won’t be any cap left to go UFA shopping? At RW, or at defense? The top of the list (regarding RW’s) is Gaborik (27 years old) at 7.5 million (Kovalev is also an UFA that had the same salary as Guerin, this past season) and (at defense) Bouwmeester (25 years old) at 4.875 million seems the best deal, by far (obviously his agent will aim a lot higher than that, I’m afraid).

    Any idea of where this guys may end up? ‘Cause in my mind I thought that the Pens could use it’s current Stanley Cup Champions status, to try to “lure” players to sign with the Pens, even if that meant for the player, getting less money. I dunno, I guess that there aren’t many players as dumb as Hossa…

    June 17, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you are too far off base with who they will sign and not sign. I think the Gill/Scuderi will be one or the other Scuderi if the price is right and Gill if the contract is a one-year. Rumors are floating that Scuderi will get a good offer from the Islanders. I don’t think we will mess with the defense too much unless they for some reason they can’t get a Gonchar extension worked out . Boucher isn’t a major loss, either.

    What some people start bringing to the table is that Guerin will sign for a million or two which I think is horsecrap. Guerin and Scuderi could be playing with the Islanders.
    I see the regular season lines like this:

    Kunitz – Crosby – OPEN
    Fedotenko – Malkin – OPEN
    Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
    Dupuis – Talbot – Godard

    With players like Tangradi, Caputi, Jeffery, Pesonen, Veilleux, Pierro-Zabotel getting a shot to make the team in camp. Possibly Jeffery, Caputi and/or Tagradi with Talbot and Kennedy moving up to the first two lines.

    On defense:
    Orpik – Gonchar
    Eaton – Letang
    Goligoski – OPEN

    In goal:
    Fleury, Curry


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