For the second time this offseason, the Pittsburgh Penguins made a signing when signings seemed no longer imminent.
The first signing was former Philadelphia Flyer and Atlantic Division junkie Arron Asham who signed for one year and $700,000. The second signing that occurred late this morning was former Edmonton Oiler Mike Comrie.
That's right, Pens fans, Lizzie McGuire is coming to the city of Pittsburgh.
This is a massive pay cut from his most recent contract with Edmonton, a one-year contract worth $1.125 million.
Was Comrie desperate to get a team when he realized a signing might not happen? Or maybe does he have a feeling the Pens could have a good season?
Who knows, maybe both.
Anyone who is scratching their head about the signing, take a look at the price tag and length of the contact that should silence any concerns...for the moment, that is.
The Pens have been looking for some cheap depth to their wings, a position that many analysts accused the Pens of being far too weak. Despite Comrie being a center, his position there may not be guaranteed.
The signing does bring up the idea of whether GM Ray Shero and the Pens coaching staff want to promote players from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The way the team was hyping players like Eric Tangradi, Nick Johnson, and Mark Letestu seemed as if a permanent call-up was in order.
On top of that, the Pens were feeling the pressure from the cap so why not bring up someone who has been playing the system?
Rumors have been floating around about where Comrie will fit in the line up. So far, Puck Daddy has noted that Comrie's agent Ritch Winters will be playing on Sidney Crosby's line. There's a good chance he will play on the left side, possibly moving Chris Kunitz to the right side which would bump Pascal Dupuis to another line.
Here's where I have a problem.
Comrie's numbers aren't anything special. After about a 10-year career, Comrie has played only one full 82-game season and one season of 80 games. Both seasons included career high numbers of 60 points.
The last time he hit that number was Crosby's rookie year in 2005-2006.
I won't knock on Comrie's game. He may be on the small side, 5'10" and 185 lbs, but the guy is as tough as nails.
With that said, is he first line material?
I don't think so.
I really liked what I saw when Crosby was flanked by Dupuis and Kunitz and I don't see why either would get the boot, especially Dupuis who blossomed at the tail end of the season.
So while the signing itself can only benefit the Pens because Comrie is receiving NHL minimum and a one-shot trial, you have to wonder about the fate of other players on the team.
"Is Tyler Kennedy good enough to play higher in the lineup? Tyler has to prove it to us in camp. Same with Max (Talbot). His game last year - is that it? Where are we with Max? I like competition with the role guys we have. I'm looking at a number of players to get off to good starts."
Perhaps this signing is more to light a fire under some players who have been struggling, like Talbot and Kennedy? Talbot more than Kennedy should be concerned about this signing as he and Comrie play similar styles.
The fact that Talbot scored the Cup clinching game-winner in 2009 is only going to carry him so far at this point. Other than Malkin, he's the one who needs to come out fighting the most this season.
Training camp just got even more interesting.
May the best hockey player win a spot on opening night.
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