NHL Free Agency 2012: 4 Alternatives to Shane Doan for the Pittsburgh Penguins
For a while, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero was in heavy pursuit of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan. Although Doan is no longer an option for Shero, there are still a few free agents capable of secondary scoring support.
After breaking numerous “sign-me-now” deadlines, Shane Doan announced the obvious—he is staying in Phoenix.
“My goal is to sign here … we have a deal worked out,” said Doan (via: AOL Sporting News). “(The) focus is still with the Coyotes. It’s never, ever changed.”
Doan’s offensive ability would have been a great addition to Shero’s already elite offense. The ageless forward put up a hefty 50 points last season (22 G, 28 A).
The possibility of bringing Doan to Pittsburgh is gone, but the possibility for the Penguins to add depth to their offense is still very much alive.
Here are four free agents that Pittsburgh should look to add before the 2013 season.
Brian Rolston in a March game against his former team the New York Islanders.
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After a dismal 49 games on the New York Islanders, Brian Rolston gained a new lease of life when he was traded to the Boston Bruins. Rolston put up 15 points (3 G, 12 A) in 21 games with Boston this past season.
Rolston was moved up to the top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic after notching a goal and three assists during a four-game streak. Bruins head coach Claude Julien was hoping that Rolston’s steak would boost the production of his top line.
The move clearly paid dividends, as the 39-year-old proved he was an efficient third cog in the Bruins’ first line. Rolston also put up three goals in seven playoff games during the postseason.
Rolston finished off the season hot, and the Penguins would be just the team to make sure he stays that way.
Jason Arnott racing Brooks Orpik for the puck.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Formerly a fourth-liner for the St. Louis Blues, Jason Arnott has many appealing qualities to his game.
Arnott may not have put up the flashy offensive numbers he once did, but he still played an important role for the Blues last season. He posted an impressive plus/minus rating (+13) and has a career plus/minus rating of +81 over 1244 games.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will provide the bulk of the scoring for the Penguins, but the two cannot be on the ice all season long.
After a defenseless playoff performance against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Penguins have shown they need a forward who can play his game without forfeiting a goal.
Pittsburgh has no problem taking the lead, it is maintaining the lead that it needs some work on. Arnott is a reliable third/fourth-line player, who can be called upon to preserve a lead.
Kristian Huselius attempting to deke past Ben Lovejoy.
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Kristian Huselius had suffered two injury-riddled seasons with the last-placed Columbus Blue Jackets. However, after a public statement from Huselius, the Blue Jackets could be the ones to blame.
According to USA Today, Huselius felt he was rushed back on the ice and did not have enough rehabilitation time.
"I had not one single practice with the team before my comeback," Huselius told Aftonbladet (via USA Today). "I got one pre-game skate. Then I dressed for an NHL game and played 21 minutes. I thought they acted wrongly with me."
Prior to his two injury-riddled seasons, Huselius had put up two noteworthy seasons in 2009 (21 G, 35 A, 56 PTS) and 2010 (23 G, 40 A, 63 PTS). Also, keep in mind that Huselius put up those numbers on the lagging Blue Jackets.
Before playing for Columbus, Huselius notched 182 points in three seasons with the Calgary Flames. Huselius has shown that he has the potential to put up a strong season when playing with the right guys.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have the offensive talent to rejuvenate Huselius' performance.
Sykora scores in triple overtime during game five against Detroit in the 2008 playoffs.
There are so many reasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins to jump for Petr Sykora. Surely Pittsburgh fans have not forgotten who propelled their favorite team to game six during their 2008 playoff run?
With Doan all but signed, Sykora is the next highest-scoring forward with 21 goals and 23 assists last season—only six points less than Doan. Also, like Doan, the 35-year-old is still producing in the latter end of his career.
Formerly a player for the New Jersey Devils, Petr Sykora was a pleasant surprise during his season with the Stanley Cup runners-up. After making training camp and putting up his share of goals, Sykora proved that his career is far from over.
Sykora is an unrestricted free agent, most likely because the Devils will be looking to give young players like Jacob Josefson and new acquisition Bobby Butler their fair share of ice time.
Ultimately, if the Penguins do not sign Sykora, another NHL team will.
Pittsburgh’s addition of Sykora would add a lot of depth to their offense. He is the kind of player that will score when guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are having off days.
Age is just a number to Petr Sykora. The Penguins would be wise to seize the opportunity to bring the underrated veteran back to Pittsburgh.