Penguins Update: Who’s Out There—Part II – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Update: Who’s Out There—Part II

On day two of my Who’s Out There feature, let’s take a look at defensemen and goalies.



Penguins GM Jim Rutherford stated last week that free-agent Trevor Daley held the key to his off-season plans for the defense. If Daley stuck with the black and gold, JR would sign restricted free agents Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz and a depth guy or two call it a day.

If Trevor moved on? All bets were off.

According to a report by Jason Mackey in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the latter scenario will play out come Saturday. Thus, look for JR to swing a trade…or dip into the free agent market…or both.

Fortunately, there are plenty of free-agent options, from big ticket, high-end producers like Kevin Shattenkirk to sturdy all-arounders like his former Capitals teammate Karl Alzner and Calgary’s Michael Stone.

Player Age Team $ (M) GP G A PTS +/-
Karl Alzner 28 WSH $2.8 82 3 10 13 23
Brian Campbell 38 CHI $2.25 80 5 12 17 12
Trevor Daley 33 PIT $3.3 56 5 14 19 7
Dan Girardi 33 NYR $5.5 63 4 11 15 8
Ron Hainsey 36 CAR-PIT $2.83 72 4 13 17 -8
Andrei Markov 38 MTL $5.75 62 6 30 36 18
Johnny Oduya 35 DAL-CHI $3.75 52 2 7 9 -4
Kevin Shattenkirk 28 STL-WSH $4.25 80 13 43 56 -7
Michael Stone 27 ARI-CGY $4.0 64 3 12 15 0

Given his preference for mobile, puck-moving types, it’s difficult to envision JR having interest in Dan Girardi, a character guy who recently was bought out by the Rangers due to age and declining skills. Nor would I expect Shattenkirk, a power-play whiz, or longtime Canadien Andrei Markov to don the black and gold due to inflated price tags.

Veteran Johnny Oduya—closer to the Pens’ mold and similar to Daley in style—is a possibility. However, NHL.com pegs him to return to Chicago. Ditto his puck-moving teammate, Brian Campbell.

Actually, the locals could do worse than re-sign Ron Hainsey, who proved his worth down the homestretch and during the long playoff grind. Though not an All-Star, he’s mobile, durable and handles the puck well, especially in open ice.

He blended well with Dumoulin, too.


New Pens goalie coach Mike Buckley indicated the team will shop for a veteran backup for Matt Murray, a move that would afford top prospect Tristan Jarry another season of steady work at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

With a number of experienced goalies hitting the free-agent market, the club’s timing is good.

Player Age Team $ (M) GP GA SH GAA SV%
Jonathan Bernier 28 ANA $4.15 39 83 2 2.50 .915
Brian Elliott 32 CGY $2.5 49 121 2 2.55 .910
Jhonas Enroth 29 TOR-ANA $0.75 6 18 0 3.94 .872
Chad Johnson 31 CGY-ARI $2.6 36 87 3 2.59 .910
Steve Mason 29 PHI $4.1 58 143 3 2.66 .908
Ryan Miller 36 VAN $6.0 54 150 3 2.80 .914
Antti Niemi 33 DAL $4.5 37 95 0 3.30 .892
Ondrej Pavelec 29 WPG $3.9 8 26 0 3.55 .888

A familiar name not on the list? Mike Condon, who briefly backed up Marc-Andre Fleury last season while Murray recovered from a broken hand. Condon signed a three-year contract extension with Ottawa on Wednesday.

According to NHL.com, the most likely goalies to wind up wearing the black and gold are Jonathan Bernier, Chad Johnson and ex-Philly starter Steve Mason.

Johnson, a fifth-round pick of the Pens back in 2006, might be the sleeper in the bunch. His career save percentage of .915 matches that of former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller. He’s got experience as a 1, 1A and backup goalie, which would provide some flexibility between the pipes.

A factor that could help the Pens’ recruiting cause? Murray doesn’t figure to log the same workload as the departed Fleury. When healthy, “Flower” averaged between 60-70 starts per season.

An intriguing option? How about ex-Blackhawk Antti Niemi. He endured a disastrous year behind a watery defense in Dallas. But he’s a former Stanley Cup winner with a strong track record (.913 career save percentage). Look for Niemi to bounce back…at a drastically reduced price.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    July 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Hey Guys
    I would love to be Dumo’s agent right about now. Based on these crazy early numbers on the market he will get 3.5 to 4 million for 6 years easily !
    I do not even want to guess what Schultz will receive. I wonder now if we can really afford to sign them both and get a 3rd line center with talent.
    JR’s job just got a lot tougher.
    There is big money being thrown around for mediocre talent .
    Lets go Pens

    • July 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The saving grace is the draft picks that need to be sent to sign an RFA. FYI: I moved to Rick’s new post.

  2. The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
    July 1, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Getting back to the Discussion of the Caps and Orlov, since they gave Orlov $5.1mil how much will they have to pay Evgeny Kuznetsov? Just saying that deal may hurt them big time. Even if he is forced to take a cheap salary now, they may burn some bridges in the future

    • July 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I don’t get it at all. In the mean time Colorado picked up a Colin Wilson from Nashville. So the Duchene trade likely.

      • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
        July 1, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink


        I did see CBJ put their 2 cents in for Duchene, but they were only offering R Murray and a prospect so the Pens could easily top that.

  3. July 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    They are now saying Niemi is a done deal with Pittsburgh.

    • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
      July 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Any idea on $$$$

      • July 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        They are saying $700k one year.

        • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
          July 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          That sounds like a very good deal. With the number of Goalie Prospects in the org, that makes tons of sense.

  4. July 1, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Bonino to preds 4/5 years @5.5 mil a year. He beat them for the Cup then robbed them blind.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 1, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the updates, Phil.

      Holy schnikes … $5.5 mil??? I love Bones and all, but he’s way overpriced at that rate.


      • July 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        It came in at 4 years $4.1 a year. Early TSN reports were wrong. $4.1 makes more sense.

    • July 1, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      4 years

  5. July 1, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Pens got defenseman Matt Hunwick from Toronto. Daley to Detroit. Hainsey to Toronto – 2 year deal. No amounts until noon.

    • July 1, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Daley 3 years $3.18 mil a year.

    • July 1, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Hunwick 3 year $2.5, $2.5, $1.75 or $2.25 a year against cap

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        July 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        That is just crazy for a number 7 d man on a normal Pen’s team.
        He is over the hill. Is that the best we can do ???
        TSN reports Bones has a 4 year, 4.1 million cap hit per year. Hainsey went to the Leafs for 2 years. I would rather keep him and I am not in favor of over paying for 35 + year olds usually.
        What do you think Schultz will get now ???


  6. pen's 4ever's Gravatar pen's 4ever
    July 1, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I think Niemi is the best choice solid back-up, what about Stone from Calgary on d?? Should be a fun day or couple of them!!


    • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
      July 1, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Stone resigned with Calgary

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      July 1, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Happy Canada Day to you and Jim, Pen’s 4ever!

      I thought Stone looked intriguing as well, but Calgary signed him to a three-year deal. A local hockey buddy mentioned Niemi last night, too.

      Whenever I’ve watched Niemi play, he’s always appeared sharp. Then again, ex-Pen Johan “Moose” Hedberg used to look that way to me, too, and guys found a way to score on him.

      Niemi had a pretty rough go with Dallas last season. But he posted five shutouts for San Jose as recently as 2014-15 and led the NHL in wins (24) in 2012-13.

      Hopefully, he feels like he’s got something to prove and bounces back.


    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      July 1, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Same to you p4e !!

      Karl Alzner just signed with Montreal for 5 years and 23 million an hour ago.
      It is starting.

  7. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    June 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Apparently CBJ is making a pitch for Duchene, the report I read said CBJ offered Ryan Murray and another player off of their roster. Honestly I think the Pens could easily beat their offer without hurting their themselves. Sorry, I am not a fan of Ryan Murray.

  8. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    June 30, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    The Trib is reporting that Bonino priced himself out of the Pens range and that they are close to a deal on a 3rd line C. They said they weren’t all that impressed with the FA Cs.

    The Article also says that the Pens are resign to losing Daley and Hainsey and that they feel that keeping the roster in tact seemed counterproductive this year so although it doesn say that they were looking outside the system from the get-go, it infers it.

    • June 30, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I read that and was thinking Duchene maybe. Then I was thinking if the Pens trade a “D” and Hainsey goes elsewhere then ouch! Maybe the Daley/Hainsey thing is a ruse to get Pouliot signed today! Then sign Hainsey.

      The Caps are setting ridiculous prices again Orlove $5.1 a year for 6 years. Holy crap that ups Shultz’s number.

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        June 30, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I didn’t see the Caps stupidity yet. You would think that they would eventually learn after over-paying Orpik and Niskannen. I hope that maybe Schultz is pretty much set, because if Orlov becomes the standard Schultz and Shattenkirk are about $6 – $7mil and I am not sure who really has that much room.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        June 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Hey Phil and Other Rick,

        I truly don’t know what the Caps are thinking. Five million for Orpik? And now $5 mil for Orlov, who’s okay but nothing special?

        Guess they’re desperate not to let anyone else walk.

        Still, with Alzner, Schmidt and Shattenkirk leaving town? Unless they have a slew of young, blue-chip defensemen nobody knows about, they’re gonna be Hurtin’ (with a Capital ‘H’) this year on D.


        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          June 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          Hey Rick, I was just saying the same thing,

          $5.75 for Niskanen 78GP 5G 34A 39Pts NTC
          $5.50 for Orpik 79GP 0G 14A 14Pts NTC
          $5.10 For Orlov 82GP 6G 27A 33Pts NTC in 2019-2020

          That becomes
          $16.35 for 11G 75A 86Pts in 3 D men 21.8% of their Cap Space. I have no idea what goes thru their minds.

  9. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    June 30, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Hey Guys…
    I just read that JAGR needs a job !! You guys know the local politics much better than I do. Do we sign for 1.5 million a year for old time sake ??
    Reports say last year his bonuses and contract exceeded the 5 million per year level. His posted salary was 3.5 million a year for last year.
    Not worth it in my opinion.! But I have been wrong many times before…
    Any Ideas ??

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      June 30, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      If Jagr could play LW I would say that would make sense, but with the number of good young RWs on this team, I wouldn’t even think about signing him.

    • June 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      Jagr is just playing Florida for more money. He won’t play for a discount. That’s what he does. He’s been getting offers from Florida, and has no interest in going elsewhere unless they pay more than the probably $2.5-$3 they are offering. He’s probably trying to get Mcphee to throw some cash his way.

      Pens will sign him for a day league minimum when he wants to retire so he can retire a Penguin.

  10. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    June 30, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    Good stuff, Thanks for putting all of this together for a one (actually 2-stop counting yesterday) stop shop look FAs.

    Honestly, the more I look at it, the less I am impressed with the FA market, particularly when we get here to the D and G. The only D man that I would look at seriously is Shattenkirk and unless the Pens clear tons of cap space in a hurry, there isn’t a snow balls chance of that happening.

    Honestly, even though I got comfortable with Hainsey, at just under $3 mil, I am not all that sure that the value is there in comparison to what is on the roster. To steal the baseball terminology, Hainsey’s hockey version of runs above the average replacement player may not be enough to justify any type of raise at all. If he signs for where he is now, that is about as high as I would go for him.

    In goal, wow, the only one I would have really tried to bite on was Condon and he resigned with Ottawa. However, given what Buckley was quoted as saying and the current state of the Pens G situation (Lots of good young goalies) I agree with you Rick, Niemi on the cheap may be the best answer. Sign him on a 1 year deal on a cheap, prove you still have it contract so you aren’t tied down next year when Jarry may be ready to assume a regular role on the big squad.

    Honestly, I think a trade may be in order to improve the D. The Pens may be able to get a good D man by dangling a spare RW. Even that may not happen. It appears that when teams may be willing to throw draft picks at Vegas but want to over-charge the Pens for anything, or at least the only players that may benefit the Pens.

    It will be interesting to see if Sakic screws up with Duchene and loses him to FA in 2-years because he over-estimates his value, particularly if Col has another bad season as a team which will no doubt reduce Duchene’s production even more, causing him to lose more value.

    • June 30, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      I agree, the defense market just isn’t there. I think the Pens will sign Hainsey and leave Daley & his not so good knees to another team. I think maybe the Pens don’t want to pay his crazy price for a chance he won’t be able to play a whole season.

      I see money going like this:
      Hainsey – 2yr – $2.75 a year
      Dumoulin – 4-5yr – $3.5 – $3.75 a year
      Shultz – 4-5yr – $4.5 – $5 a year

      Like you said, maybe a trade for another defenseman or maybe Pouliott is ready. I could see Rust or Sheary (if signed) going for someone. Maybe Hagelin is thrown in just to get to normal salary.

      In goal I would bet the Pens end up with Niemi maybe a 2 year $2 – $2.5 mil a year deal. I would really rather have Mason though.

      The Pens should be signing some guys today. Should be fun to watch where the $$ numbers come in. As $$ go, I don’t see Bonino going for crazy dollars people are talking his numbers aren’t there, but I didn’t think Orpik would either!

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        June 30, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Hey Phil,
        Daley is very close to going to Detroit reports are saying.Boston is in the hunt too. Either way he is gone. Bonino looks like he won the Power Ball lottery I think you guys have because many teams are bidding for him now.8 to 10 teams are interested reports are saying.
        I am glad for him because he has certainly paid his dues. Plus he is looking for a long term contract with 5- 6 years in length. If I was JR and could get the money, would I sign him for 6 years at 4 million plus. No way.. That has been a reoccurring problem with the Pens in giving long term deals to players who do not pan out.
        Reports from Minnesota have said they have reached out to Matt Cullen to have a 2 year deal, to play at home. By – By Cullen !
        One of the best play off performers we have since he came to Pittsburgh.
        Kunitz is gone. Everybody wants a piece of him.
        Shattenkirk is gone… He has many options to pursue.

        Please JR get Schultz signed before Shattenkirk gets a 6.5 to 7.5 million dollar deal from some crazy GM wanting to make a name for himself. Then the others will come looking to get Justin.

        We need another option to consider. Move Kessel to 3rd line and let him anchor it. Get a Russian winger for Geno. Yakupov !! ST. Louis did not qualify him. Get him for 1 million for a 1 year deal plus a second year option if it worked out. Malkin and Gonchar could work on this kids psyche and get him playing again. He has the talent.
        Just screwed up in the head. They had him playing on 3rd and 4th lines in a defensive situation. That is like entering a Clydesdale in the Kentucky derby. He is a project for sure.
        Colorado has a Russian center man they got from Buffalo. He is big and fast. Just lost his game !! Grigorenko ?
        He may be a 4th line center in the making.
        As someone said, we need a big trade today to reset the pieces before tomorrow !
        Lets go Pens..

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          June 30, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Interesting thought about Yakupov. If he could be signed for the right price and skate him with Malkin, maybe he could turn his game around, but the price would need to be right to justify the chance. I would hate to have money tied up in a bust.

          I do agree, Kessel should have his own line, most of the time. But they would need to get a Center for him.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          June 30, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          Really interesting call on Yakupov. Number 1 overall pick back in 2012. Started out fine…17 goals in 48 games back in 2012-13…and has regressed ever since.

          Perhaps a case of Schultz-itis with the Oil? Who knows.

          He’s a left-handed shot, but like Jagr plays right wing. I don’t know if he’s able to play on the left side. But if he can, he may certainly be worth the risk. He’s only 23.

          The Hockey News scouting report raves about his speed, shot and ability, but questions his work ethic and overall hockey sense, especially in the d-zone.

          Perhaps Sullivan could get him dialed in.


      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        June 30, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        If the Numbers work out like you list them, I wouldn’t complain. I would be willing to go up to $5.5 for Schultz if I had too, but only because of the question mark that Letang is. Because of Letang, Schultz’s value is a little higher than I normally would set it.

        Part of me hates to give up Hagelin right now, since he is a natural LW, but if the Pens could get a good D man for him and either Rust or Sheary I’d jump on it. I would rather keep Rust and trade Sheary though. Sheary has the better scoring touch, but Rust has been a better clutch player.

        I would love to see Pouliot step up. I hate to be wrong and when I first saw him I said he would be a big time player. As of now Pouliot is making me look bad.

        Also, I would love to see the Pens find a way to keep Bones, if it could be done for the right $$$. As you said, he is more than a solid defensive Center but his Offensive numbers just aren’t there. I read an article yesterday that compared him to the old 2 9er and I thought that was a good comparison. The article focused more on the players perspective of grabbing the $$$. However, I was thinking more of the contribution level. Bourque was solid defensive forward with great wheels, but offensively he wasn’t a top 6. Unfortunately some team was willing to throw big $$$ at him but he was soon out of the league because he priced himself out. Hopefully the Pens at least get Schultz in the fold today


Follow PenguinPoop

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

PenguinPoop Unique Visitors