Revisting Why the Pens Will Not be Back Next Year.

David HeereSenior Analyst IJuly 11, 2008

I wanted to write a follow up article on my Why the Pens Will Not be Back Next Year article. In the previous article I pointed out the oncoming exodus of players from Pittsburgh via-free agency and how the team was going to screw itself over by locking up a few superstar players to long pricey contracts.


I of course was mauled by every Penguins fan on the internet as a bias and ignorant Devils fan. There is no way they can sign two players to contracts that could total over $17 million. Marc-Andre Fleury will not be worth $5-6 million. They will resign Hossa and all their other free agents.


Well look who is laughing now. Malkin signed a $9 million contract when I said he would get $8+ million. Marc-Andre Fleury got a $5 million contract when I said he would make $5-6 million. Hossa left Pittsburgh for, as he put it, a real cup contender.


How many of their 16 Eastern Conference Champion team’s free agents did they sign? THREE! I said they will not even be able to resign a chunk of their players and they just resigned Pascal Dupuis, Mark Eaton, and Brooks Orpik.


To rub salt in the faces of those experts that said the Marian Hossa trade was amazing, I would like to point out the Penguins gave up two former first round players, a first round pick in 2008, and a former third round draft pick.


What they got was a rental player who did not win them a Stanley Cup, then bolted for another team.  Now the Penguins are out four players that could have filled out their roster this season.


Some say that Pittsburgh will not stumble at all because the team resigned their “core players.”


Six players do not make up the “core” of a hockey team. There are three forwards, two defensemen, and a goalie in that “core” and that makes up one shift. What are you going to do with the other 30+ minutes of the hockey game? You need at least 10 or 11 players to have a “core” of a team.


The Penguins are seriously lacking third and forth line players. If you look at the Penguins stats from last year, there was a serious drop off of point from outside the top five forwards. Ryan Malone had 51 points, and the next closest foward was Jordan Staal and his 28 points and -5 rating.


Never mind the third and forth line guys, who could possibly replace the 66 points from Hossa, the 51 points from Ryan Malone, the combined 279 PIM from Georges Laraque and Jarkko Ruutu, and finally the leadership and 15 points in 38 games from Gary Roberts?


Apparently two former New York Islanders, fresh off their 25th place finish last season, are going to replace all the lost Penguins. Miroslav Satan and his 41 points and Ruslan Fedotenko and his 33 points are going to take the Penguins back to the Promised Land.


Let us not forget the Penguins also brought in former ninth round draft pick and unproven NHLer Janne Pesonen. His enigma of a season last year has prompted fans everywhere to jump back on the bandwagon.


Matt Cooke also signed with the Penguins and his 23 points and 91 PIM are a sub-par substitute for departed Ruutu.


Eric Godard will be taking the place of George Laraques, except Godard will only contribute one or two points compared to Laraques’ 20ish average points a season.


Bottom line is the players that the Penguins are bringing in are worse than the players that went out. Unless you really want to debate that Miroslav Satan and Fedotenko are better than Hossa and Malone? You can call me bias and stupid all you want, but the stats do not lie.


It is a simple equation that says to me: Unless the Penguins’ front office really thinks Sidney Crosby is good enough to take on an entire team with a couple other players, I would not expect to see the Penguins anywhere near the Stanley Cup this season.