The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a unique position in their pursuit of 2012 NHL free agents. They are in possession of not one, but two players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are arguably the best in the league.
It’s rare to come across a team with that much talent at the top, but with Crosby at 24 years old and Malkin at 25, it’s even more rare to boast two superstars that are as young as the Pens’ pair. Pittsburgh is a special case, because not only are they capable of pulling the trigger on an acquisition to help them win now, but every move they make must also have the future in mind.
Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Alexander Semin is interested in playing with the Pens' two stars. He tweeted:
Alex Semin's agent, Mark Gandler: "No question, playing in Pittsburgh would be great. Alex would love to play with either Malkin or Crosby."— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) July 6, 2012
Kevin Allen of USA Today also reported that the Penguins are one of many teams targeting Shane Doan to be a catalyst for a Stanley Cup run.
Semin and Doan are the two most talented free agents left on the open market by far. The difference between the two, though, is drastic. While Semin is a high-risk, high-reward talent, you know exactly what you’re getting in Doan. And given that the Penguins have too much potential to risk rolling the dice on a loose cannon like Semin, Doan is the superior pickup.
Who should the Pens sign?
Doan just won the Mark Messier Leadership Award. He’s the ultimate teammate, and he would fit in seamlessly on the same club as Crosby and Malkin. Semin, on the other hand, has been labeled “the ultimate coach killer.”
Signing Semin to anything longer than a one-year contract would be absolutely ludicrous. On the flip side, Pittsburgh should embrace the thought of Doan retiring as a Penguin. That difference alone should tell you who the better free-agent option is.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.