With free agency beginning today, I thought I would make a list of moves to keep you guys updated on what the Penguins are doing.
Gonchar signed a 3 year deal (exactly what he was asking for from the Pens) with Ottawa 21 minutes after 12:00. Gonchar was the leader of our Power Play and a very important defenseman. Although he is getting up there in age, at 36, he was a mentor to our younger player (like Evgeni Malkin) and will be sorely missed here in Pittsburgh.
Looking for a replacement for Gonchar, Ray Shero quickly made a mover for Zbynek Michalek. This 27 year old stay-at-home defenseman inked a deal giving him 20 million dollars over 5 years. Although he only had 17 pts over 72 games last season he had 156 shots blocked and 80 hits.
Even with the signing of Michalek, the Penguins are still rumored to be in the sweepstakes for Paul Martin. This 29 year old defenseman is asking for somewhere around 5 million. If Ray Shero can pull this deal off, he will still have around 3 million dollars to spend on the top 6 winger the pens reportedly want. With a similar skill set to Gonchar, but 7 years younger, Martin could slide right in to the Penguins blue line.
UPDATE: It is now confirmed that Martin has signed a 5 year deal with the Penguins.
With Bill Guerin becoming a free agent, the Penguins have lost a veteran presence and top line winger. A look at the free agent candidates to replace him:
Bill Guerin: Guerin hasn't been signed yet, and would only look for a 1 or 2 year deal worth 1.5-2.5 million, right in the Penguins range. At 39 years old, however, his decline might come faster than some expect.
Jonathan Cheechoo: After underachieving last year, his pricetag could fit under the Penguins cap (they have around 3 million dollars left)
Ilya Kovalchuk: Asking for around 5 million, too much for the penguins (it would be nice though, to steal another player from our division rival, the NJ Devils)
John Madden: The Penguins are reportedly in negotiations with Madden. I know he isn't a winger, but he could upgrade the penguins offense and allow Malkin or another center to move to wing.