I follow fans of the Penguins on Twitter and have read countless articles as well as Q&A's from fans about the "revised" Penguins.
Now as a fun use of free time, I'm going to give my opinions on questions a lot of Penguin fans want to ask.
Why does Shero want to combine Staal and Geno?
Staal is ready for a top 2 line year. He has served as center of what has been said to be the best third line in the NHL. Staal has progressed and is ready for a breakout year. I see Staal becoming an amazing centerman and to have Geno as a winger will definitely boost that.
It has become clear that Geno isn't the best at faceoffs and Staal is better at taking faceoffs as well as holding down the center. Geno likes to move around and is equipped with speed that allows him to do so.
At the same time, i'm thinking about the same third line that could shut down any top line as well as bruise any top line. The combination of Cooke, Staal and Kennedy proved last year that they were capable of taking out a top line while the Pens two stars, Crosby and Malkin, rested up for the opponents bottom lines.
Overall, I see Coach Dan giving it a try and if it doesn't work, look for Staal to move back to being the third center and look for him to not give a care in the world at the move. That is, if Shero doesn't find a center to take the place of the third line center.
Who will Shero sign next, if anyone at all?
When Rob Niedermeyer decided to not sign with the Penguins, a third line center was pretty much out of the question. Now Shero is looking for a veteran winger. The players he should be looking at are: Dominic Moore, Maxim Alfinogenov, and lastly, Bill Guerin.
Moore isn't even getting looked at by the Pens and I have no idea why. He is a big hitter who flourished in Montreal and checks like crazy. He's also a great penalty killer.
Alfinogenov did well in Atlanta and has a cheap price tag for a big goal scorer. Pens need a winger who can score and that is what he is.
Guerin is old. That's relevant to people, but he also was the leading scorer for the wingers last year. He still plays at a decent pace and is a positive voice in the locker room. I don't think he should get the $2 million he got last year and I know he has blown off whatever the Pens were offering him this off season. He hasn't gotten many other offers and he wants to play in Pittsburgh. I hope he takes a lesser price and comes back for what will surely be his last year.
Did Shero over pay for Martin and Michalek?
Shero knew he was under pressure to get the Pens defense better. He stood his ground with Gonchar and didn't give in to Gonchar's demands. That third year Gonch wanted at a $5 million price tag could cost the Penguins if he got hurt. As much as I wanted to see Gonch back and as hard as it was to hear him talk about Pittsburgh and then shift to Ottawa, I knew Shero made the right decision.
But back to the Martin and Michalek talk. Both players are players that will benefit this team in different ways.
Martin has offense to his game while Michalek is all defense. Martin was injured this year, but still showed what he has, while Michalek led the league in blocked shots, an amazing stat for any defenseman.
Another thing I like about the signings is that they were offered more from other teams but decided to come to Pittsburgh and have a chance at their first ever Cup.
Like Shero has said time and time again, he wants players who want to play here.
Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Orpik, Cooke, Martin and Michalek have all taken less to play in Pittsburgh.
That says a lot.
The simple question is the same every off-season, especially after a bad loss in the playoffs.
Will this team make it to the Cup?
Without a doubt.