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Under Contract for 2012-2013
Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jordan Staal, Joe Vitale
Restricted Free Agents
Unrestricted Free Agents
Arron Asham, Steve MacIntyre, Richard Park, Steve Sullivan
Eric Tangradi is likely to return due to the fact that, if for no other reason, he's a RFA. Once considered an ace power forward in waiting, opinions on Tangradi vary greatly. Based on his limited use at the NHL level, he may have fallen out of favor with management, but they won't let him walk away for nothing.
Steve Sullivan was astonishingly healthy and was a solid contributor at even strength and a real asset on the power play...all at a bargain price. He seems like a great candidate for at least one more season in Pittsburgh.
Arron Asham provides an element that no other Penguins forward can. He's an excellent fighter and has the skill set to play effectively in coach Dan Bylsma's system. However, his recent injury history and a very ugly cheap shot incident with Brayden Schenn in the playoffs give him only a 50/50 chance at returning.
MacIntyre and Park are likely two-way deal candidates at best.
Aside from the current pending free agents, some sensationalized local reporting by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review gave way to runaway trade rumors that seemed to sweep through the hockey world.
Myriad reasons exist for Jordan Staal’s name continuing to surface in trade speculation, and postseason comments by himself and the organization did nothing to squash such rumors.
When asked about the Penguins’ “three-center model” following a first-round playoff exit against Philadelphia, general manager Ray Shero said, “It has worked in the past. Whether it works in the future remains to be seen.”
Staal, whose contract expires next summer, recently was asked whether he, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could enjoy long-term happiness in Pittsburgh.
“Good question,” he said.
Message boards and rumor pages all over the net loaded up with Jordan Staal trade rumors. Staal to be traded at the draft for the first selection, imaginary package deals with multiple suitors, playing with his brother in Carolina...blah, blah, blah.
Ray Shero quashed all the silly talk, and the Penguins can't even talk new contract until after July 1. Barring an overwhelming offer, you can forget about the Penguins trading Staal.
Legitimate trade candidates from this group include young fellas Dustin Jeffrey and the aforementioned Eric Tangradi. Both forwards have shown breakout flashes but have not been able to find regular spots where they likely feel they belong: in the top six.
Another trade candidate could be Tyler Kennedy. After filling in admirably in a scorers role a year prior, Kennedy's 2011-12 production was down. His price is now a seemingly inflated $2 million for one more season, but his energy, youth and potential production will attract more than a few teams should he be made available.
Unless Jordan Staal's agent attempts to sell the Penguins that he is the second coming of Mark Messier, forcing him out of the team's future plans, this group will look essentially the same in the coming season. The forward group is a real strength. Shero may tinker, but he won't tamper with a unit that is so effective.