2012 NHL Free Agency: Other Free Agent Possibilities for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Adam Rickert@adam_rickertAnalyst IIJune 27, 2012

2012 NHL Free Agency: Other Free Agent Possibilities for the Pittsburgh Penguins

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the most interesting teams to follow in the past week and will continue to make waves in the NHL for the next few weeks.

    Starting at the NHL Entry Draft, the Penguins traded Jordan Staal to Carolina and Zbynek Michalek to Phoenix, most likely in order to clear up cap space to sign free agents.

    The Penguins have been one of the Stanley Cup favorites each of the past three years, but have only won one playoff series in that time, prompting management to realize that a change should be in order.

    Obviously, the biggest names on the market this year are Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and the Penguins will likely be one of the front-runners to sign each of these two stars.

    Other than them, however, there are several other free agents on the market that could really improve the Penguins' roster for a lower cost. Let's take a look at the smaller names that the Penguins could try to sign.

P.A. Parenteau

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    P.A. Parenteau would be a great addition to the Penguins' roster. He was the top right winger for the division rival Islanders, and he is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

    Parenteau is a very talented player, and could be a great help to Pittsburgh as a winger for Crosby, Malkin or even Brandon Sutter.

    I think that he would work best working as Sutter's winger, as Malkin and Crosby already have terrific linemates, and Parenteau and Sutter could add an extra dynamic to the third line.

    Bylsma, however, would most likely put him on one of the top two lines in order to have him on the ice more often.

Ray Whitney

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    Ray Whitney will be a highly-coveted free agent, adding a terrific veteran presence to any team and just finishing off one of the best seasons of his career in 2012 with Phoenix.

    Like Parenteau, Whitney is a winger, something that could definitely help the Penguins' offense.

    Being a knowledgeable veteran, he would work very well with Malkin or Crosby as a playmaker, or he could help Brandon Sutter mature as a skilled forward.

Bryan Allen

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    During the last few weeks of the regular season, as well as the playoffs, it was revealed that the Penguins' biggest need is defense.

    The Penguins were averaging about 3.5 goals against per game. That won't cut it if they want to have a deep playoff run again.

    I can definitely see the Penguins signing Allen. He fits in perfectly with the team and would address a lot of the team's needs.

    He can also provide some offense as a defenseman, which is obviously never a bad thing.

Jason Garrison

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    While Garrison is another defenseman on the market, I don't really see the Penguins making a big push to sign him.

    He would be a decent addition to any team but is known more for offense, as he broke out last season with 16 goals.

    The Penguins will most likely spend their money on a more defensively-minded defenseman.

Pavel Kubina

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    Pavel Kubina is a gritty veteran defenseman who could add to the intimidation factor of every team, but he has not been offensively or defensively overwhelming as of late.

    He only tallied three goals and 12 assists, finishing with a minus-two rating.

    He would be a veteran presence and used to be one of the league's better defensemen, but he is likely past his prime.

    The Penguins may take a look at him, but I'd expect someone else to sign him.

Hal Gill

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    Hal Gill played with the Penguins for two seasons: 2008 and 2009. Both years, the Penguins made it to the Stanley Cup Final.

    In 2010, he joined the Montreal Canadiens and knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoffs.

    Coincidence?

    Maybe. Gill isn't exactly a points-producer, but he is one of the league's top enforcers. He seems to have had success with the Penguins, but they don't exactly need another enforcer as they already are one of the more physical teams in the league.

Jaroslav Spacek

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    Journeyman defenseman Jaroslav Spacek would be a good addition to the Penguins.

    He has been a decent defenseman throughout his career, good defensively without taking too many penalties.

    His offensive stats are not overwhelming, but he has put up some decent assist numbers and his plus-minus rating has been positive every year since 2006.

    Signing Spacek would be a fairly cheap way to address what Pittsburgh needs most: defense.