As the penguins continue their victory tour around the city, and the corn flakes have barely had enough time to get soggy in Lord Stanley - Ray Shero is already back to work.
Pittsburgh Penguins offseason has already begun. The entry draft is next week, followed by the start of free agency a week later. The penguins have ten (10) unrestricted free agents – Adams, Boucher, Fedotenko, Garon, Gill, Guerin, Satan, Sykora, and Zigomanis. In addition, the Pens have four (4) restricted free agents – Bissonnette, Curry, Goligoski, and Lovejoy.
One note: Kris Letang is a restricted free agent after next season. I expect Shero to extend him a contract this summer, much like he did with Fluey, Sid, and Geno. Now this is too hard to account for because it is an unknown variable – but worth noting never the less.
This would ensure to keep our entire young core group together for an extended Dynasty run.
Peter Sykora – “Sniper” got old fast. He is an overall bad fit in Bylsma’s system. I don’t expect him back.
Miroslav Satan – He had a good playoff run, but not enough to warrant a new contract. The speculation is he will sign with a team in the Russian league.
Hal Gill – is beginning to becoming a liability, at least at even-strength. Pen’s won’t resign.
Philippe Boucher –Barely played and played terrible when he did. Boucher was a short-term replacement that added depth anyhow.
Mathieu Garon– Garon was flat out terrible. Penguins fans would help pack his bags.
Mike Zigomanis – Bill Thomas is a poor man’s Ziggy – no need wasting the money or roster spot.
Paul Bissonnette – Still hasn’t proved he can play at the highest level.
This group is why Shero gets paid and I don’t – This group could go either way next year.
Rob Scuderi– Someone will throw Ryan Malone type money at Scuderi ( 4 mil/yr). This is money the Penguins simply can’t afford. And this is saying a great deal, because if true Pen’s fans remember Scuderi was simply awful in his early years. I fully expect “the piece” to part of another puzzle next season.
John Curry – Solid backup goalie, and with no backup on the roster would be an inexpensive option.
Craig Adams – Dime a dozen player in the NHL - brings grit and experience, but expendable.
Bill Guerin – He is a fan favorite and by all accounts he and his family enjoyed Pittsburgh. If the Pens let Sykora go and get the right discount – I see Billy coming back for 1-2 more years.
1-2 years @ 3 million/yr
Players that must/will be resigned.
Alex Goligoski – Goligoski filled in valiantly for Gonch. Everyone expects him to take the next step at the next level.
Ben Lovejoy– Golio and Lovejoy are vital to bring back because there are no viable options if Scud and Gill leave. Lovejoy led all AHL defensemen in +/- rating this year. He is a defensive defenseman, and joins Orpik in such next season.
Penguins will match any offer for either Golioski and Lovejoy.
Ruslan Fedotenko – Ruslan was a STUD in the playoffs. The chemistry with Malkin was clear. He will be resigned.
2 years @ 2.5 million/yr
If the Penguins resign these three, plus Guerin and Curry it leaves them roughly 3 million under the cap. If Scuderi takes a hometown discount for less than that - that would be ideal. If Guerin is not resigned, it would leave 6 million to sign a new right winger for Crosby – unfortunately no ideal right winger is on the market.
The above scenario is the likely scenario. The remaining three million would go to fill the remaining lines, bring in depth on defense, and to sign Kris Letang to an extension. After all Shero has showed the ability to fill weaknesses at the trading deadline.
Kunitz, Crosby, Guerin
Fedotenko, Malkin, Talbot
Cooke, Stall, Kennedy
Luca Caputi, Thomas, RW (adams?)