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Penguins Set After Free-Agent Flurry – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Set After Free-Agent Flurry

It didn’t take Penguins general manager Ray Shero long to wrap up his summer’s work. During the four short weeks that passed since the black and gold bowed to Boston in the Conference Finals, he resolved virtually all of the team’s looming personnel issues and laid the foundation for the upcoming campaign.

Here’s a quick review of Shero’s moves:

June 12—Signed coach Dan Bylsma to a two-year extension.

June 13—Signed center Evgeni Malkin to an eight-year, $76 million extension.

June 24—Traded defenseman Alex Grant to Anaheim for left wing Harry Zolnierczyk.

June 27—Signed left wing Chris Kunitz to a three-year, $11.55 million extension.

June 30—Traded right wing Tyler Kennedy to San Jose for a second-round choice in the 2013 Entry Draft.

July 2—Signed defenseman Kris Letang to an eight-year, $58 million extension.

July 2—Signed right wing Pascal Dupuis to a new four-year, $15 million deal.

July 5—Signed right wing Craig Adams to a two-year, $1.35 million deal.

July 5—Signed former Pens defenseman Rob Scuderi to a four-year, $13.5 million deal.

Shero let third-line standout Matt Cooke walk (No. 24 joined ex-Pens assistant Mike Yeo in Minnesota). While the club will miss “Cookie’s” grit, smarts and drive—not to mention his penalty killing—he’d become a marked man in recent seasons.

Likewise, the Pens GM didn’t pursue any of the high-profile free agents—Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Douglas Murray—he imported during the 2013 stretch run. Iginla, who signed an incentive-laden deal with Boston, never found his niche in the ‘Burgh.

shero2

So where does this leave the Penguins? Cap issues aside, in remarkably good shape. With Malkin, Dupuis and Kunitz in tow, the top two lines are set. Scuderi will partner with Letang to form what promises to be a highly effective defense pairing. Bylsma should be able to craft a capable, high-energy fourth line from the likes of Adams, Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale and Zolnierczyk. The new-look third line—which likely will feature Brandon Sutter centering for fellow ex-Hurricane Jussi Jokinen and restricted free agent Dustin Jeffrey—could be a pleasant surprise.

Indeed, the biggest question mark is in goal, where Marc-Andre Fleury must prove he’s a legit starter in the wake of another playoff meltdown. Still, thanks to Shero’s boldness, the Pens’ outlook is good for the coming season—and beyond.

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8 Comments

  1. Joen's Gravatar Joen
    August 1, 2013 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    This team is disgustingly limp noodle soft. Sickening.

  2. Straka Forever's Gravatar Straka Forever
    July 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Ray should and will trade Niskanen to trim the fat maybe get a prospect winger in return. Lines should be as follows:

    Dupuis- Crosby-Kunitz
    Neal – Malkin – Bennett
    Jokinen – Sutter – D’Agostino
    Zolnierczyk/Glass- Vitale – Adams

    Letang – Scuderi
    Martin – Orpik
    Depres- Engelland/Bortuzzo

    I don’t think the defensive pairings will last given the fact that Depres may need someone like Scuderi or Martin to be the responsible defenseman paired with him. Jeffery adds nothing to the lineup if he is playing on wing because he can’t play wing. Don’t be surprised if you see Bennet – Sutter – Jokinen on the 3rd line because rumor is Bylsma feels that Bennet is better at left wing which puts the Pen’s back in the same place they are every year since 2008 – needing another top 6 winger!

  3. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    July 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    I think the line-up might look like this…
    1st Ray trades Matt Niskanen to get under the cap at the start of the new season..
    Dupuis- Crosby-kunitz
    Neal – Malkin – Bennett
    Jokinen – Sutter – Jeffery
    Glass- Vitale – Adams/Zolnierczyk

    Letang – Despres Fleury
    Martin – Orpik Vokoun
    Scuderi- Bortuzzo

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re spot-on with the forward lines.

      I thought they’d probably pair Scuderi with Letang. But you’re the second person who mentioned the Letang-Despres, Scuderi-Bortuzzo pairings …

      • Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
        July 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Well Letang and Scuderi can play the mentor for the two young guys, I don’t think it will be like that all season, but those young kids need some verteran leadership on the ice.

  4. RINIJG's Gravatar RINIJG
    July 8, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I would of kept Morrow.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      I like Morrow, too. In fact, I liked all the guys Shero brought in last spring. But the Pens only had so many cap $$$ at their disposal and Shero couldn’t sign everybody. Given the circumstances, I thought he made really sound decisions.


            

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