Free Agency Already Subtracting From Stanley Cup Champ. Penguins

Tim KingCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 12: Hal Gill #2 of the Pittsburgh Penguins holds the Stanley Cup following the Penguins victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Less than 24 hours into the NHL's free agency period and the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves paying the price for another successful spring, a price that is potentially becoming much steeper in the coming days.

The Stanley Cup champions lost massive defenseman Hal Gill to the Montreal Canadiens today, who offered the 31 year old a $4.2 million, two-year deal. Gill had teamed with another free agent Rob Scuderi, to form a shut down defensive paring that slammed the door on the Flyers Mike Richards, the Capitals Alexander Ovechkin, the Hurricanes Eric Staal, and the Red Wings Marian Hossa.

Also headed for greener pastures is backup goaltender Matthew Garon, who signed a two year deal to back up Steve Mason in Columbus.

Scuderi could join the list of ex-Penguins before the end of the week. 

While his agent is still in negotiations with Pens GM Ray Shero, it is also known that Scuderi is being courted heavily by the New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild

Shero did attempt to shore up his club today by signing center Mike Rupp away from the New Jersey Devils for a two year deal worth $825,000 per season. The club also signed their third round pick from 2006, defenseman Brian Strait out of Boston University.

Shero is hoping that he can lure both Scuderi and winger Ruslan Fedotenko back to Pittsburgh, but only has a little more than $5 million dollars remaining under the salary cap.

NHL teams may exceed the salary cap for the coming season between July 1st and the beginning of training camp, but must be below the cap figure before the team's first organized workout in the fall.