Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gomez traded to Montreal....Live Updates bottom of post

The New York Rangers traded center Scott Gomez and two minor leaguers to the Montreal Canadiens for winger Chris Higgins and three defenseman including the 2007 first round pick Ryan McDonagh. Gomez had two disappointing seasons in New York, recording 70 and 50 points respectively. Higgins is a New York state native, who is coming off a down year recording 12 goals after notching over 20 goals the past three years.

My take: GM Bob Gainey will be run out of town if Scott Gomez plays the same way he has the last couple years. Especially considering Gomez has 5 years left making $7.3 mil a year. A truly atrocious contract by Glen Sather to sign him to but now that's not his problem. Higgins is reasonable at $1.9mil but he's an RFA. He's still young and has a lot of upside. He goes to the net hard and creates space with his big body on the power play. Look for the Rangers to not pursue Knuble as strongly because of this. But look for them to be in the hunt for some top notch guys: Hossa, Gabork, Havlat, and Cammallerri. They have cleared some cap and it should get interesting in the Big Apple.

UPDATE (7:28 pm): The Dallas Stars re-signed veteran forward Jere Lehtinen to a 1 yr $1.5 mil contract. The 36 yr old was injured most of the year but his defensive prowess and experience can still come to good use.

UPDATE (8:45 pm): The Calgary Flames signed defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a 5 yr deal at $6.6 mil per year. The Flames acquired J-Bo's rights on Sunday from the Florida Panthers. The Flames have $13.1 mil invested in Phaneuf and J-Bo, both defenseman. The Flames will now have two deadly pairings on D, including Sarich and Reghyr on the 2nd pairing. Phaneuf and J-Bo are arguably two of the best all around D-men in the league, and they're still young. The Flames are very close to the cap, look for Jokinen to get dealt down the line.

UPDATE (8:53 pm): The Penguins Rob Scuderi, the Habs Mike Komisarek, and the Sens Chris Neil will all test free agency tomorrow. Scuderi still wants to return to the Pens but he wants to see what's on the market first. There's a 50/50 chance Komi returns to the Habs. And Chris Neil rejected the Sens 3 yr-$1.7 mil a year deal today. Scary to think Neil is worth over 2 mil, but a lot of teams could use some sandpaper including: Toronto, Detroit, and Florida.

UPDATE (9:18 pm): The Penguins have not come to terms with Fedotenko yet. The problem is he wants $3mil/yr and he might just get that on the open market. Both the Rangers and Wild will target him. The Pens can't afford to sign a player to that price, especially if it's Fedotenko. Hal Gill remains an option per TIOPS, he'd have to take a huge pay cut. If Scuderi doesn't re-sign, Gill could be a cheap option as our last defenseman. He is after all an excellent penalty killer and his size is hard to match. Per Rob Rossi: "We're down to specific sorts of players. If we don't get them we're willing to wait," said Ray Shero.

UPDATE (9:40 pm): The Senators and Oilers are discussing a trade which would send Dany Heatley to Edmonton for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid. The Oilers are trying to get rid of Sheldon Souray and his pricey contract but the Sens aren't as interested in him. Penner also has a big contract and he's been a bust the last two seasons. GM Murray has a good relationship with Penner from his Anaheim days.

Latest Pens news and rumors

- The Penguins have broken off talks with forward Mike Zigomanis per Dave Molinari of the Post Gazette. This was expected after the Pens signed 4th liner Craig Adams yesterday to a $550k/yr deal. Ziggy made $650k last year and he wanted a raise so Shero in effect saved some money here. Plus there's still Dupuis to be worried about and his $1.4 mil, so letting Ziggy go was now a no-brainer. His faceoff prowess will be missed but 4th line centers aren't going to be the difference in winning or losing in the playofffs.

-Talks with Fedotenko and Ray Shero and his agent Allan Walsh continue to go on. Feds wants a 3 yr deal at around $3mil, but the Pens can't really afford that especially because they still need to sign a defenseman. Feds will get $3mil or possibly more on the open market and the Rangers/Flyers/Thrashers are among those interested. Shero does not like the 3yr that Feds wants, nor the $3mil/yr.

-Many reports indicate defenseman Rob Scuderi will re-sign with the Pens. He has said all the right things in the papers this week and he wants to return at a discount price. That price would have to be in the $2.5 mil range. Eklund from hockeybuzz also believes Scuderi will re-sign with the Pens. If he goes to free agency tomorrow, Montreal, NYI, Tampa Bay, and Phoenix will show interest.

-If Fedotenko leaves the Pens, which is looking more and more likely, the Pens will set their sights on a number of wingers to put alongside Geno on the 2nd line.

Top of the list: Mike Knuble (Phi), Ales Kotalik (Edm), Nik Antropov (Nyr), Steve Sullivan (Nsh)

Bottom of the list: Todd Bertuzzi (Cal), Maxim Afinogenov (Buf), Mikael Samuelsson (Det)

The Pens would look at the bottom three as cheap options or low risk/high reward type deals. Especially Afinogenov. He's had a couple 25 goal seasons and he's one of the fastest skaters in the league. I know I know, so was Konstantin Koltsov, but Maxim can score goals too and imagine him with Geno. Bertuzzi would also be a $1.5mil signing, he had 15 g to Fedotenko's 16g at half the price of Feds. But a guy like Knuble will be the main target as he has been the most consistent 25 goal scorer the past 5-6 yrs. The best bargain might be a guy like Kotalik who would sign for $2.5, potential 30 goal scorer.

Pre-NHL Frenzy News and Notes

- The Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis flew to Sweden the last couple days to speak with the Henrik/Daniel Sedin twins and talks aren't going over so well. The Canucks have offered a 5 yr deal/$25mil for each of them. It could go a little more/less depending on what they decide. The Sedins are looking for a longer term contract in the 10-12 yr range that's why their hasn't been a deal made with Van. If they get to free agency tomorrow look for Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta, and Minnesota to purse them hard and offer them some big bucks.

- The New Jersey Devils agreed to terms with defenseman Johnny Oduya on a 3 yr/$9mil contract. Oduya had a great season with the Devils with 7 g 22 a and a +21. He was previously making $600k, and a significant raise was expected.

- The San Jose Sharks re-signed their veteran defenseman Rob Blake to a 1 yr deal worth $3.5 mil. Even at 39, Blake has proven himself to be a steady contributor both offensively and defensively for the Sharks backend.

- The Edmonton Oilers have offered goaltender Dwayne Roloson a 1 yr deal worth $3 million. This is insane considering Roloson will be 40 and although he had a great season with 28 wins and a GAA of 2.77, there are better options out there for less than $3mil: Biron, Anderson, and Clemmenson. They have all proven they're capable of being starters.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pens sign Guerin to a 1- yr deal

The Penguins came to terms with forward Bill Guerin to a 1- year $2 mil deal. But the deal could reach up to $2.85 mil with bonuses. Guerin told the Pittsburgh Penguins officials that he planned on signing with the Pens before July 1st. He took a significant discount to stay with team. He earned $4.5 mil last year after a contract the Islanders gave him.

My take: I like this signing because Guerin showed that he is capable of performing alongside Crosby. It's not worth going out and getting a more expensive player who's performance with Crosby you're not certain of. Guerin is a proven goal scorer even at 39. He's a veteran that provided great leadership this playoff run and it'll be nice to see him back. I originally was against re-signing Guerin but the more I thought about it the more I liked it.
What's next? I think Dupuis will be traded and look for Feds to walk and Scuds to re-sign.

Pens sign Craig Adams to 2-yr deal

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed UFA to be Craig Adams to a 2-yr deal at $1.1 million. He will get $550k in the next two seasons.

Here's what GM Ray Shero had to say: “Craig is a steady, reliable, physical player who was an important part of our mix this season,” Shero said. “He plays with a lot of grit, but he also contributed some key goals in the playoffs and was very effective as a penalty-killer. We’re glad to be able to sign him for two more years.”

My Take: This was a great signing by Shero as Adams took a slight pay cut ($50k) to stay for the two year duration as a Penguin. He's a tremendous role player and does all the little things well. This likely spells the end of Dupuis and his $1.4 mil salary which would save us $850k if we were able to deal him. Several teams are interestedin him including Min, NYI, and Edm.
This might also spell the end of Zigomanis, although they need a 4th line center. Could Dustin Jeffrey be put in the mix next year? We'll see. But signing Adams for this contract and dealing Dupuis would still give them money to sign Ziggy, 2 forwards, and a defenseman (or 2).

OTHER UFA news: The Carolina Hurricanes came to terms with their UFA to be Jussi Jokinen at a 2 yr/$3.4 mil deal. The Canes picked Jokinen off waivers near the end of the year and it turned out to be a great addition. Jokinen had one goal and 11 points in 25 regular season games but scored seven goals and 11 points in 18 playoff games. Including a couple game winners in overtime. Not bad playoff numbers for a mid-season waiver pickup.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pens free agency thoughts and feelings

We are three days away from witnessing yet another exciting July 1st. A day filled with eww's and ahhh's and holy god's and are you kidding me? But being a Pens supporter we are safe to assume one thing, GM Ray Shero will not go quietly into the night. Since his hiring in May of 2006, Shero has been moving and signing players like it's nobody's business. In his first summer as GM in '06 he signed UFAs Mark Rechhi, Jarko Ruutu, and Mark Eaton. People cringe when they hear Rechhi's name after how bad he played his last few months as a Penguin. But it was a very young and inexperienced Pens team a few years ago, Crosby was only a sophomore and Malkin/Staal were rookies. Rechhi added important veteran leadership and Ruutu was an immediate fan favorite for his agitating antics.

Shero also traded for Nils Ekman (who turned out to be a bust) and handy role player Dominic Moore. In the summer of '07 after the Pens made the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, Shero was active again. This time he added proven goal scorer Petr Sykora and steady veteran Darryl Sydor. While Ryan Whitney and Crosby were re-signed to long term extensions. Now last summer as we all remember, was a little different. There was the long awaited moment for Hossa to decide whether he'll sign long term with the Pens or leave to go elsewhere. He surprised everyone by taking a 1-yr deal with the Red Wings. And also Ryan Malone took more money to go to Tampa and now he's miserable about it.

But Shero panicked and after he lost out on plan B: Marcus Naslund/Brian Roloston/Kristan Huselius, he was forced to go after whatever was out there which happened to be Satan and Fedotenko. Now Fedotenko wasn't a bad signing, especially at a $ 2.5 mil price tag. He was a proven playoff performer and a solid 20 goal guy who could "hopefully" provide some net presence. But Satan at $3.5 mil turned out terrible for the Pens. He was supposed to be that sniper for Sid's line and nothing came of that. A couple weeks into free agency the Pens made a signing I loved in Matt Cooke. Cooke added some grit and energy we lost when Ruutu left. But when it came down to the playoffs, even Satan turned up useful in a 4th line role. Remember goal 1 in game 1 vs. Carolina on the breakaway? The man has still got skills.

Now in the next few days there will be several talks between the agents of Fedotenko, Scuderi, and Guerin with Shero regarding new contracts. Fedotenko wants to stay, the question will be for how much/how long. For $2.5 mil/yr and 2-yrs the Pens should lock him up. And it looks as if Shero really wants Guerin to come back as well. His calmness, veteran leadership, and play alongside Crosby all seem to have a big impact on Ray Ray. Scuderi will get $3.5 mil-4 mil in the open market, he knows that. But he also knows Ryan Malone took more money and ended up being miserable, and Orpik took less money ($3.75 instead of $6 offered by LA) and he won a Stanley Cup. Scuderi loves it here, he wants to stay, and I think he'd accept a $2.5 mil/yr deal.

What do I think will go down in Chinatown? It's hard to say, but I do think Guerin and maybe Scuderi will re-sign. I don't think Fedotenko's production on the 2nd line was significant enough during the regular season. I'd rather have a guy like Knuble, Kotalik, or even Maxim Afinigenov. These guys will all be in the $2mil-3mil range. Knuble adds a net presence and a consistent 25 goal scorer, Kotalik has a wicked shot who's also capable of netting 25-30. And Afinigenov would be a low risk high reward type deal. He'd definitely sign with the Pens for $2 mil/yr because he has to prove to critics and to himself that he can still play. Maxim's speed is on the Pavel Bure level. He would love to play alongside Geno, who wouldn't?

Shero should try and dump Dupuis and his $1.4 mil salary and maybe even Mark Eaton. I'd rather see a guy like Moen on the 4th line or Jeffrey/Wallace. We need another physical defenseman at a good price. Montador, Boynton, or even Semenov come to mind. Eaton is good and he played much better this year, but even if we re-sign Scuderi I'd like to see some more size and physicality. Especially since Hal Gill will be gone. The Pens other playoff competitor (not named Washington)the Flyers just got a lot better with Pronger in the backend. This means we have to strengthen our top 2 lines while having enough money to sign a defenseman. We can do this by re-signing Guerin and letting Fedotenko walk. If Shero can get Crosby a sniper, I think the Hart Trophy/Conn Smythe winner deserves one too :).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pronger to Philly trade breakdown

ANALYSIS: Not many people in Pens nation were pleased when the Flyers acquired Chris Pronger last night. The Flyers had to pay a steep price to get a guy who's going to be a UFA next summer and is seeking a long term extension worth 5-6 mil/yr. Top 6 winger Lupul, talented youngster Sbisa, and 2 first round picks went to the Ducks. Lupul was their biggest trade bait, he cleared a ton of cap space ($4.5 mil), and because they have Claude Giroux waiting to crack the top 6 Lupul became expendable.

Sbisa played in 37 games last year with the Flyers at only 19. He's got an immense amount of offensive talent. Another puck moving defenseman who will likely take over the reign of Niedermayer once he retires in a couple years. The Ducks will have a ton of offense from the blue line to look at down the line: Ryan Whitney, James Wisniewski, and now Luca Sbisa. Great deal by Ducks GM Bob Murray, they weren't going to sign either Niedermayer or Pronger so one of them had to be dealt, and what a return they got.

From the Flyers standpoint, they have added the best defenseman on that team since Mark Howe from the 80s teams. They have brought in a shutdown guy who can bring everything: nasty play, can play point on the power play, and has a great first pass. Pronger fits right in Flyer nation. The Ducks Bob Murray believes they have a legit shot at the cup now with Pronger. Do I agree? Maybe, the big question again will be there goaltending but getting Pronger will truly help in trying to beat the Flyers biggest threats in the conferece: Pens and Capitals.

I think Pronger will get paired with Timonon as Timonen is a similiar player to Niedermayer. They'll have Ryan Parent, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Randy Jones to fill out their core. Alberts looks to be gone with this deal. Philly will have an interesting mix of big, puck moving, and in your face defenseman. They will now have 2 good groups of defense to try and stop Sid's line and then Geno's line. Mmmmm, the Pens Flyers rivalry just got a tad bit nastier. But if the Flyers don't win the cup in the years Pronger is there, this will go down as one of the worst trades in Flyers history. Especially considering the upside of Lupul, Sbisa, and 2 1st round picks!
I think the Pens should look to get tougher come July 1st. UFAs : Mike Knuble, Eric Cole, and Chris Neil should be considered. At a cheaper price a younger guy like Travis Moen could be looked at. Moen would be a great 4th line or 3rd line guy to have.

Pens draft Simon Despres 30th overall.....J-Bo's rights traded to Calgary

The Penguins selected defenseman Simon Despres from St. John (QMJHL) with their 1st round pick. Despres was regarded as one of the best defenseman in the draft. He's a big man at 6'4 and 206 lbs. And last season he collected 32 points in 66 games, with 2 g and 32 a. He's a big guy who posesses a great 2-way game. Has an excellent first pass out of zone and carries both good defensive skills as well as offensive.

My Take: Despres was probably the best player available in terms of potential at #30. Ferraro and Drew Shore were out there but Shero chose to go with defense. Despres seems like a mix of Scuderi and Letang. His only flaws are seeing the play in front of him. He was projected to go higher in the draft but a bruised hip during the year seemed to lower his stock. He'll be a solid 3rd of 4th D-men in the near future for the Pens and it's awesome to see that he was rooting for the Pens in the finals.

"I was wanting them to win the Stanley Cup this year," he said. "Mario Lemieux and Crosby and Malkin and all those guys. It's a great honor, and I'm very excited."

2nd ROUND pick: The Pens selected another defenseman with the 60th overall pick, Philip Samuelsson, the son of former Pens bruiser Ulf Samuelsson. Philip is 6'3 and 198 lbs but he isn't as physical and punishing of a defenseman as his father was. At 17, he's known as an excellent defensive defenseman and he helped Team USA win the gold this year in the under-18 world championships.

The Panthers finally dealt Jay Bouwmeester's rights, trading him to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Jordan Leopold and a 3rd round pick in this year's draft. Bouwmeester was leaving Florida so it was just a matter of time. At least Florida got something in return. Leopold is a solid 3rd or 4th defenseman to have on a team. He's relatively young at 28 and has had a lot of playoff experience.

Now Calgary has the right to negotiate with J-Bo before July 1st. He will be seeking a 5-6 mil/yr deal. Imagine the Calgary blue-line with Phaneauf and J-Bo, then Reghyr and Sarich, that's just scary. Phaneauf is a more physical version of J-Bo but both complement each other well, should be fun to watch Calgary.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Draft Day Rumors begin...Updates at top of page

Anaheim has traded defenseman Chris Pronger to the Flyers for forward Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa(D prospect), and 2 first round picks. Philly is really pushing it to make a cup run next year with this trade. Great addition by GM Holmgren, Pronger's nasty style of play will be welcomed with open arms in Filthadelphia. Ray Shero will not be too happy about this.

UPDATE (6:22 pm): There is a possibility that Tampa Bay forward Vinny Lecavalier will be dealt today. He is a franchise player and it would have to be a trade GM Brian Lawton can't resist to get him dealt. The Montreal Canadiens are very interested. Habs forward Chris Higgins would be involved.

UPDATE (6:14 pm):
The Phil Kessel deal to Toronto has been held off for now. Toronto believes Boston is asking too much and they want to keep the #7 pick.

UPDATE (5:30 pm): Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer will be returning to the Ducks next season. A 2-year deal will be negotiated sometime next week. With Niedermayer in, it looks as though Chris Pronger is being shopped. The Flyers and Bruins are very interested.

UPDATE (5:18 pm): Garth Snow has kept it very secret as to who he will take as the #1 pick. Many believe it should be Tavares because he will bring people to the stands and get them a new stadium. But defenseman Victor Hedman would be a great shutdown type guy to match up against the Malkins, Crosby's, and Ovechkin's of the world.

UPDATE (5:03 pm): If Ottawa forward Dany Heatley isn't dealt by July 1st, they will have to pay him a $4 mil bonus. Imagine how GM Bryan Murray will feel about that? LA still remains in talks with Ottawa about Heatley. Murray has been seen talking to Kings GM Dean Lombardi at the draft tables in Montreal.

The Boston Bruins are offering forward Phil Kessel to Toronto in exchange for defenseman Tomas Kaberle and the #7 pick in this year's draft. This was apparently the significant offer that GM Burke had received last night and lead many to believe Kaberle was on the move. Which he still could be.

MY TAKE: Kessel is a franchise player who had a breakout season last year scoring 36 goals in his 3rd season in the NHL. Kessel is only 21 and he is the type of offensive threat that Toronto could use. On the other side Kaberle is another terrific defenseman that would go to a team with an already good core of defense. I'm not sure why the Bruins want Kaberle necessarily. They have Chara, Wideman, and youngster Matt Hunwick who all provide offensive depth from the blue line.

But I understand that they are near their cap and Kessel is a restricted free agent. On top of that, Kaberle is signed for more 2 more years at a very reasonable price of $4.25 mil. If GM Chiarelli believes they can't re-sign Kessel this deal makes sense. But, I don't see why a 7th pick has to be included in this deal, I think this is too steep of a price for Kessel. Kaberle for Kessel straight up would make more sense.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kaberle to Philly/Florida?........Live updates at bottom of this post

TSN is reporting that the Maple Leafs have received a "significant offer" in exchange for defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Kaberle has averaged roughly 50 points a season as a member of the Leafs the past 10 seasons. The Flyers are said to be the front runner offering Lupul, their 1st round pick, and a prospect. Burke traded Lupul from Anaheim years ago because he considered him too soft. Lupul has added that grit and edge since joining the Flyers in '07. The Panthers are interested in Kaberle as well, and Bouwmeester would be going the other way.

My take: Kaberle is a terrific puck moving defenseman who has established himself as one of the best powerplay quarterbacks in the league. Philly could use a guy like him as Matt Carle has proven himself to be inconsistent and Kimmo Timonen is getting older and doesn't have the shot from the point that Kaberle does. Philly wouldn't mind parting with Gagne or Briere because they need to clear some cap space. The play of rookie Claude Giroux has given Philly the luxury of trading those two. And Burke is interested in Gagne.

UPDATE (7:03 pm): From Blues insider Andy Strickland (very reliable source) Kaberle will not be moved until 7 PM tomorrow once the draft starts. He has a no-trade clause which won't come off until that time.

UPDATE (9:32 pm): Jay Bouwmeester is expected to be traded tonight. Vancouver looks like the front runner........tune back later for more.

UPDATE (12:31 am): If he is to be moved, Bouwmeester will not be until tomorrow. Vancouver/Toronto/Philly remain the top 3 teams in the running for J-Bo, with the Canucks leading the pack.

Mayhem in Montreal!!!....Trade rumors are flying

We are nearly 24 hours away from the 2009 NHL Draft, and trade talks among teams have heated up like no other. Here are the latest updates:

-There are 3 teams that have narrowed the gap on Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester: Canucks, Maple Leafs, and Flyers. The Canucks are the most serious trade partner and a deal could get done as soon as tomorrow morning. Bouwmeester is scheduled to become a UFA on July 1st, so trading for him now just gets you a head start on the negotiating process.

The Canucks are offering their 1st round pick(22nd overall) as well as a position player. The Panthers are very interested in gritty forward Alex Burrows. I love watching that guy play but he just signed a new deal with the 'Nucks and is a fan favorite. Steve Bernier and Mayson Raymond are more likely players headed the other way, but Gillis wants to keep Raymond so we'll see. And any talk involving the Flyers/Panthers will go through forward Joffrey Lupul.
As for Toronto, Brian Burke loves J-Bo, but it might take Kaberle and some picks to get him.

- Dany Heatley trade talks are also heating up. As 3 teams have narrowed the gap on the 50 goal scorer: Edmonton, the New York Rangers, and LA. Now there have been rumors that Rozsival and his $6 mil/yr salary will be going the other way along with some others. But no one in the world would take Rozsival for that amount of money. On the other hand guys like Callahan, Drury/Gomez, Zherdev are being discussed going to Ottawa. Particularly Chris Drury who's underachieved since his arrival in NY and Coach Torterella isn't exactly thrilled with his game.

Edmonton has the 10th overall pick in the draft, and GM Tambellini will not be afraid to use it as trade bait to get Heatley. The Sens are asking for Andrew Cogliano but there's no way Edm. will deal him. For the Kings, Alexander Frolov is expected to be in any deal heading to Ottawa.

- The Penguins are one of four teams that inquired about forward Ryan Clowe of San Jose. The asking price is said to be Orpik which I don't see the Pens doing. We lack defensive physicality as it is. I love Ryan Clowe, he's a hard nosed player, plays the same game as Ryan Malone but he's got more grit and is younger. It would be great to see Clowe alongside Geno next year but we're going to give up some assets to get him. Maybe a Lovejoy/Dupuis type deal could be possible.

But the Leafs and Flyers also inquired about Clowe. Brian Burke loves those smash mouth hockey guys. He's similiar to Dustin Penner (when he was on the Ducks). The Flyers are also interested in Clowe, but GM Doug Wilson wants Claude Giroux or Scotty Hartnell, no way Flyers give up Giroux, Hartnell is doubtful as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rumor Mill: UFA Defenseman who make CENTS for the Pens

With Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi
likely gone from the Penguins, Ray Shero will try to find a shutdown defenseman who can replace one of those two. Since Goligoski (Gogo) will be in the lineup next year, that means Lovejoy will likely not start until later in the season. Why? Because the Pens will have no shutdown pairing or very solid defenseman on the backend if Lovejoy starts. There will be enough offense as it is with Gonchar, Letang, and now Goligoski (who's offensive skills Pens fans saw the 1st half of last year).

The following five defenseman are ones I think Shero will seriously consider or go after once July 1st hits. They make "cents" both financially and by what they can bring to the team.

1. Francois Beauchemin D- 6'0 213 lbs, 29
last year with Ana: 20 games, 4g 1a 5 pts, shoots: L
contract was: $1.65 mil

An excellent 2-way defenseman who loves hitting and carries one of the hardest shots in the NHL. Can play the point on the power play and can be a shutdown type guy. Beauchemin had a torn ACL and missed most of this season but he's stayed healthy in his career as a Blue Jacket and a Duck. Has averaged 20-30 pts per season and is a very reliable defenseman in both ends of the ice. His salary is expected to increase after 3 great seasons with the Ducks. It will still be worth signing him in the $2-3 mil/yr range, but nothing higher.

2. Greg Zanon D- 5'11 211 lbs, 29
last year with Nsh: 82 games, 4 g 7 a 11 pts, shoots: L
contract was: $750k

Has played just three full seasons in the NHL, all with Nashville. He's the definition of a defensive defenseman. Think of Mark Eaton with less skill and a lot more grit. Zanon was 3rd in the NHL in with 237 blocked shots and also added 153 hits. Very responsible in his own end and he would be an awesome guy to see alongside Gogo. But his contract like Scuderi's, is expected to rise quite a bit. IF he's in the 2-2.5 mil range then Shero will try and snag him.

3. Steve Montador D- 6'0 205 lbs, 29
last year with Ana/Bos: 78 games, 4 g 17 a 21 pts, shoots: R

contract was: $800k

He's been one of my favorite players the past 5 years (since his cup run with Calgary in '04). Has some offensive skills but is better known for being a solid stay at home guy. Did I mention he doesn't mind dropping the fisticuffs? He was a +17 while registering 143 pim. Something he does that some of the other affordable UFA defenseman don't is shoot the puck. He had 117 shots playing in a bottom pairing type role with Anaheim and then Boston. Gill and Scuderi are two of the worst at getting pucks to the net, Scuderi especially. Even though he's a middleweight, Montador loves to hit and stand up for his teammates in fights (look at him nailing goon Hollweg above). Pens could definetely get him for $1.5mil-2mil.

4. Martin Skoula D- 6'3 226 lbs, 29
last year with Min: 81 games, 4 g 12 a 16 pts, shoots: L
contract was: $1.9 mil

Another very reliable 2-way defenseman, who's averaged 80 games a season in his 9 year NHL career. As big/strong as he is, he isn't overly physical. He played on the 3rd defensive pairing for Min. the last couple seasons. I used to like him a lot when he w
as a youngster playing for Colorado 10 years back, but he's still solid today. He isn't amazing at anything, but he has decent offensive skills and plays a very sound defensive game. The only Youtube clip of him you'll find is where he embarrasses himself on a freaky turnover. He would be a nice defenseman to have at a good price. I'm not sure Shero will sign him for $1.9 or higher, but $1-1.5 mil range is definetely worth it for a guy who's barely missed a regular season game in the NHL.

5. Nick Boynton D- 6'2 210 lbs, 30
last year with F
la: 68 games, 5 g 16 a 21 pts, shoots: R
contract was: $2.95 mil

An in your face type guy who plays similiar to Montador but posesses more offensive skills. He loves hitting and doesn't mind a heavy workload, and will also fight if needed. He was a +7 with 91 pim and 104 shots. Because of a dispute with Panthers Coach Deboer, Boynton was a healthy scratch for several games near the end of the year. I like that he has a right handed as well as accurate shot from the point. The Pens could use him on the 2nd PP and on the 2nd defensive pairing. He's also a smooth skater for a stocky guy. What will his price be on July 1st? I'm going to say in the $2-3 mil range. His value has shrunk a little because of his attitude but Shero will be keeping a close eye out and he will be worth it for $2-2.5 mil/yr

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NHL news and notes

- Four great players were inducted into the NHL hall of fame today. Is it the best HOF class ever? Maybe. It sure has some names people will be talking about for years. Including Steve Yzerman (long time Red Wings captain), Brett Hull (3rd all time with 741 goals), Luc Robitaille (10th all time with 688 goals), and Brian Leetch (1,028 points, 2 time Norris Trophy winner).

- Congrats to Red Wings coach Mike Babcock for being named the head coach for team Canada in the 2010 Olympics. An official press conference will take place later this week in Montreal. Babcock has a career coaching record of 282-139-71 in the NHL and already has 58 postseason victories. He's lost in two game 7s in the finals: once with Anaheim vs. the Devils in 2003, and this year with the Wings vs. the Pens. But he did win a Stanley Cup in 2008.

-The Flames finally named Brent Sutter their next head coach. Brent's brother Darryl is the GM for Calgary and the two have always kept a close relationship. Brent left as coach of the Devils earlier this month after leading the club to 2 straight playoff births. And 2 straight 1st round exits. Brent wanted to be closer to home and now he'll get his wish.

Who will the Pens draft?

With the 30th pick in this year's NHL draft, there won't be too many stars left for the Penguins to sign. But this year's draft is said to be one of the deepest it's been in years and there are still some very attractive players the Pens can snatch.

Who can the Pens get with #30?

1. Drew Shore (USA) C- 6'3 190 lbs, 18

A pretty big guy who can still get stronger. Has good hands, strong faceoff skills, and doesn't mind being a pest. He's somewhat of a worse version of Todd Bertuzzi. Without the head bashing ability of course. Shore is somewhat inconsistent in that he can be noticeable some games like no other but then dissapears for periods of time. Plays with edge, goes to the net and scores a lot of dirty goals, a la Mike Knuble/Ryan Malone. He will be a solid player but needs to work on his consistency.

2. Chris Kreider (USA) RW- 6'2 201 lbs, 18 (attending BC next year)

Has got as much offensive upside as anyone in the draft. Jesse Marshall seemed to talk very highly of him and his impressed with his size and how well he handles the puck for a big man. Has some flashes of Peter Forsberg in his game. Is relatively old in terms of when he'll be arriving in the NHL. But he's got tremendous skill and playmaking ability. Also very hard to get off the puck.

3. Zach Budish (USA) RW- 6'3 230 lbs, 18

Is the protypical Ray Shero player. Big, strong, mean, and hits like a frake train. A mixture of Keith Tkachuk and Milan Lucic. I think we all know when Lucic hits you, memories of the bombs hitting Pearl Harbor flashback to our heads. Budish would be an awesome pick if we can get him.

He played football and ended up tearing his ACL in high school. He has recovered since and it doesn't seem to affect his hockey ability. He has a nice wrist shot and excellent hands for a guy who likes crashing and banging, and working below the goal line on the boards. He will attend the Univ. of Minnesota next year and if he can shed some weight and improve his skating, he'll be one heck of a player.

Top 5 NHL Draft Prospects

Per Jesse Marshall of Faceoff-Factor, these are your top 5 draft prospects for this weekends draft in Montreal, Canada:

1. Victor Hedman(Sweden) D- 6'6 220 lbs, 18

A mix of Jay Bowmeester and Niklas Lidstrom. Former NHLer Peter Forsberg called him the "best Swedish defenseman since Lidstrom." That's quite a compliment. He's very good leading the rush and plays extremely well in both zones. Not a big hitter but can provide a shutdown role and skates well for a big man. He dominated the Swedish League at 18 with 21 pts in 43 games.
Will end up: #2 pick for Tampa Bay Lightning

2. John Tavares (Canada) C- 6'0 195 lbs, 18

Has got incredible hands and moves that will remind people of Patrick Kane or Sidney Crosby. He will most likely be selected 1st overall by the Islanders this weekend unlesss GM Garth Snow ends up on more drugs than Chris Farley and Kurt Cobain combined. Tavares is fairly small but has quick movements and is a very entertaing player to watch. He's not overly physical and isn't the best skater. "Many have also questioned his performance in the clutch." -JM
Will end up: #1 pick for NY Islanders

3. Matt Duchene (Canada) C- 5'11 200 lbs, 17

Is a future captain in the NHL because of his great leadership abilities. Has a good 2-way game excelling both at offense and defense.
"Models his game after Sid the Kid"-Alex Kirshner. Not too big but he doesn't mind hitting and is very strong on his skates. The 2nd best offensive option behind John Tavares in the draft. Although Tavares might be flashy, Duchene is a warrior and will do whatever it takes to help his team win.
Will end up: #3 pick for Colorado Avalanche

4. Braydonn Schenn (Canada) C- 6'0 198 lbs, 17

Brother of Toronto rookie Luke Schenn, Braydonn has just as big of a heart and also has captain written all over him. Might be compared to someone like Mike Richards. Good in both zones, has soft hands, and can score timely goals for his team. Schenn like his brother Luke, doesn't mind throwing the mits down. He'll scrap, make a big hit, get in someone's face and do anything to get his team going. A more fiesty version of Mike Richards, can you say Bobby Clarke?
Will end up: #4 pick for Atlanta Thrashers

5. Magnus Sevensson-Paajervi (Sweden) LW- 6'1 201 lbs, 18

This Swedish standout is some kind of combination of Marion Gaborik and Peter Forsberg. He's got incredible blazing speed, so does Pascal Dupuis right? He's got soft hands and very quick moves that will leave defenseman frozen at times. "He isn't the most committed defensive player,"- MF. And he isn't known as a great passer either. In other words he's Maxim Afinogenov but he actually comes to the rink everyday.
Will end up: #6 pick for Phoenix Coyotes

Pens interested in Havlat?

According to Marty Havlat's agen
t Allan Walsh's Twitter, Havlat and Walsh are in Prague eating dinner right now. Once July 1st hits, the Pens will be in the market for a top 6 scoring winger (if Guerin/Fedotenko don't re-sign). Could Walsh be telling Havlat how good it is to play for the Pens? Maybe. I know Havlat loves playing and living in Chicago so getting him here will be tough.

Both the Hawks and the Pens play a similiar up-tempo stlye of play. So coming here wouldn't be a big adjustment for Havlat. Walsh is the agent for 5 Pens players including: Marc-Andre Fleury, Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora, Miro Satan, and Pascal Dupuis. Because of this he has a strong relationship with GM Ray Shero. Something could be in the works and oh how amazing it would be.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guerin/Scuderi/Gill UPDATE

The future does not look bright for Scuderi and Gill to be Penguins. It does look bright on the financial side, particularly for Scuderi who's agent said this week a deal in the 4 mil/yr range is what they'll be looking for.

Now the Pens have just under 10 million to spread around and overpaying Scuderi for that amount is out of the question. More important things are: re-signing Fedotenko (hopefully to the 2.2-2.4/yr range), getting a defenseman if Gill/Scuderi leave, and getting 1-2 scoring wingers pending Guerin doesn't re-sign. The Pens will re-sign Guerin only if it's for 2 mil/yr, anything more and there's no deal. They just can't be spending too much on a 39 year old who's likely to get burned out later on in the season.

What people need to realize is that Scuderi/Gill/Guerin/Fedotenko are all great players and some of them have played their best hockey the last couple years, i'm refering to Gill and Scuderi. But, all of them ARE replaceable. We aren't losing Sergei Gonchar or Sidney Crosby. In the free agency market there will be plenty of guys who I think are even better than these guys, for a much more reasonable price.

Sure Scuderi had an amazing playoffs and replacing Gill's size and reach will be tough as there aren't too many D like that. But these two guys were surrounded by awesome players on all 4 lines. Their success might come from Fleury's great goaltending or how tenacious our offense is. If Scuderi leaves, I think Mark Eaton can take some sort of shutdown defenseman role as those two are very similiar. Eaton has a little bit more offense and better puck moving ability.

Who can the Pens sign?...........tune in later

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NHL news and notes

- Vancouver forward Mats Sundin announced today he will not be participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The 38-year old veteran spent the majority of his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf while averaging 75 points per season. He played 41 games this season with the Vancouver Canucks registering 28 points. Age is finally catching up to Mats, as he was slowed down by several injuries this year and his game suffered as a result.

- Per TSN, Brent Sutter looks to be the top candidate to become the head coach of the Calgary Flames. Brent's brother Darryl is the GM of the Flames. Brent stepped down last week as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils, where he had a 97-56-11 record, leading the team to two straight postseason births. But they failed to get out of the first round in both.

- The NY Islanders apparently aren't 100% set on drafting John Tavares with the #1 pick in the draft (next weekend in Montreal). There are rumors flying around that GM Garth Snow is very interested in Brampton forward Matt Duchene as well as Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman. Tavares is clearly the best player in the draft skill-set wise so it will be interesting to see what really goes down a week from now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pens trying to re-sign Fedotenko...Antropov and Zanon?

Fedotenko Update

Ray Shero has been in talks
on a new contract for winger Ruslan Fedotenko. Feds signed a 1-yr deal last summer and the new deal will be a 3-yr $2.4 mil a year contract. Feds had his usual 16 goal regular season racking up 39 points in the process. But he was a +18 during the year. And a +9 with 14 pts in 24 games during the playoffs.

Like Max Talbot, Feds seems to come up big in big games, particularly in the playoffs. He meshed very nicely with Geno as the year went on. He started scoring the goals Sykora would score in the slot. The game 5 goal against Wash. to make it 2-2 was an example of that. He's got a great shot and had chances to bury the puck several times in the Detroit series but couldn't finish. He finishes his checks, plays hard and can score when Geno feeds him the puck. He was really coming on before he broke his hand punching Colby Armstrong's nose. It will be nice to see Feds back.

Shero interested in Antropov and Zanon?

Shero had some
interest in Antropov at the trade deadline this year but he questioned his work ethic/consistency. Seems to be the problem with all Russians (not named Ovechking/Malkin) over the years. But Antropov is a big guy at 6'6 230 lbs. And he managed to score 28 goals playing for a terrible Leafs team as well as a deflated Rangers team. He skates pretty well for a big man and can hit people. Not to mention he has experience playing with some top notch centers, Mats Sundin. Getting another Russian speaking player will be nice to have around Geno. Gonchar is pretty old and more of a mentor figure, and his buddy Sykora will be packing his bags for the KHL. Antropov rejected a 3 yr $9 mil deal from the Rangers this week and he'll definetely be able to get more in the open market. If his price doesn't go too crazy, Shero will be watching closely.

Pens inquired about Nashville Predators defenseman Greg Zanon at the deadline. But Shero wasn't really desperate for defense as he had 7 guys ready to step in not including Gogo and Lovejoy. But Shero has a tendency to bring guys in from Nashville. Adam Hall and Mark Eaton come to mind. With Gill and Scuderi likely out, a defensive spot will be open. The Pens can't have Gogo and Lovejoy in the lineup at the same time. Plus taking away Scuderi/Gill takes away your two best defensive defenseman. Zanon is a Shero type player. He's fairly small but stocky and a physical defenseman. He was third in the NHL in blocked shots with 237 and collected 153 hits. He made $750k with Nash. this year and he will look for a large increase as well. A Scuderi like increase? Maybe, in that case we're looking in the 2.5-3 mil a yr range. At 29 and only getting better, Zanon would be a nice addition to the Pens.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shero trying to trade Dupuis?

Several sources have indicated that
GM Ray Shero is shopping forward Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis signed a 3-yr ($1.4 mil a yr) extension with the Pens last summer. Yes he's a great role player to have, good on the penalty kill and can play on any of the 4 lines. He spent the latter part of last year on the 1st line with Crosby and Hossa. If only his hands were as good as his feet, he'd be making $5-6 mil a yr. This year because of the Pens depth up front, Dupuis was on the 4th line for most of the year. He's a cap hit with his $1.4 mil contract, and paying that money for a 4th line guy doesn't make sense. Plus we have Dustin Jeffrey and Tim Wallace waiting to make the roster from the Baby Pens. They would be cheaper and possibly better replacements. Both Jeffrey and Wallace played parts of last year and both add some speed and grit. On most teams Dupuis would be on the 3rd line at least, but there's no way Cooke/Staal/Kennedy are getting broken up anytime soon.

The Penguins almost traded Dupuis to the Islanders at the trade deadline, and the Isles are interested again. A 4th round pick would be coming back in return to Pittsburgh. Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Dallas have also inquired about his availability. Trading Dupuis would also give the Pens some money to maybe re-sign Scuderi/Fedotenko or go after a top 6 winger.

Pens interested in Antropov? Comrie? Mara?

check back later...

Top 10 NHL Free Agents

1. Marian Hossa RW
last year with Det. : 40 goals 31 assists 71 points

: Must be nice to get 2nd place in the finals 2 years in a row. Still an amazing player who had a terrific regular season but a sub-par playoffs especially the finals with Detroit. He signed a 1 yr deal with Det. around 7 mil last summer and he'll likely be offered a deal higher than that by some desperate teams such as Edmonton or Los Angeles. But GM Ken Holland and Hossa have been in talks the last couple weeks about a 5 yr contract extension with Detroit. Will be seeking a $7-8 mil a yr range.
Could sign with: Det, La, Edm, Min, Mtl, Bos

2. Jay Bowmeester D
last year with Fla: 15 goals 27 assists 42 points

Jay was almost dealt on trade deadline day but a deal couldn't get done. Florida's only chance at making the playoffs was with J-Bo on the team. The Panthers will attempt to trade his rights during the draft so they can get something for him instead of letting him walk for free on July 1st. He is only 24 and getting better each year. Both an offensive threat and a defensive shutdown guy, nice luxury to have. Will be looking for contract in $6-7 mil a yr range.
Could sign with: Van, Philly, Mtl, Edm, Ott, Nyi, Col

3. Martin Havlat RW
last year with Chi: 29 goals 48 assists 77 points

Used to be called soft in his playing days in Ottawa. He has bulked up and plays with an edge now. Had a great year in Chicago and he likes the city, the direction the team is going and wouldn't mind returning. Marty was very clutch in this years playoff run, posting a couple game winning goals and being a key part of the Hawks 2nd line. Look for NJ to take a run at him since they'll have some cap space and Elias is good friends with Marty. He's expecting a $5.5 mil a yr deal.
Could sign with: Chi, Pit, NJ, Bos, Wsh, Atl, Min

4. Mike Cammalleri C
last year with Cal: 39 goals 43 assists 82 points

Report: Signed a 1-yr deal with the Flames last summer and had a breakout year playing alongside Jarome Iginla. Mike notched 34 goals a couple years ago with LA. He's got tremendous speed and skill, and can play both wing and center. He should get a healthy raise in salary to anywhere between $5-7 mil depending on who's desperate enough.
Could sign with: Cgy, Tor, Atl, Dal, Van, Nyr, Edm

5. Daniel/Henrik Sedin, RW/C
Daniel numbers with Van: 31 goals 51 assists 82 points
Henrik numbers with Van: 22 goals 60 assists 82 points

Report: Not only are they twins, not only did they have the same point totals, but they want to be packaged to the same team. Toronto GM Brian Burke was the one who drafted the Sedins in the '99 draft as the GM for Vancouver, and it's expected that he'll make a strong push for them to come to Toronto. Getting those two basically completes a 1st or 2nd line for a team. Atlanta also has a lot of cap space and is willing to pay big bucks.
Could sign with: Tor, Atl, Van, Dal, La, Nyi, Edm

6. Marion Gaborik RW
last year with Min: 10 goals 23 points in 17 games

Report: As talented and as fast as any forward in the NHL. Only problem is he's very injury prone. In 07-08 he played in 77 games for the Wild but has played in under 70 games during his other years. With Chuck Fletcher and Todd Richards running the show, the Wild will implement an offensive system similar to that of the Pens. Fletcher will do everything he can to keep this guy on the Wild. Interesting to see what the market brings Gaborik because of his injury history. He's also very good friends with Van. forward Pavel Demitra. A deal in the 6 mil a yr range is most likely.
Could sign with: Van, Min, Pit, Nyi, Atl, Edm, La, Ott

7. Nikolai Khabibulin

last year with Chi: 25 wins 8 losses 2.33 gaa

Report: "The Bulin Wall" is getting old at 36 but he's the best goaltender available this summer and he also has a Stanley Cup ring to show for it. Has always been steady throughout his career, and had a very solid year in Chicago splitting duties with Cristobal Huet, and then eventually becoming the starter in the 2nd half of the year. A lot of teams need goaltending. Colorado will not get anywhere with Raycroft and Budaj in net. Dallas is interested with Turco getting older, also Edmonten could be interested with Roloson most likely leaving.
Could sign with: Col, Chi, Edm, Dal, La

8. Mike Komisarek D
last year with Mtl:
11 pts and 121 pim

Report: Is still young and only reaching his prime at 27. A very physical defenseman who's capable of moving the puck up ice, unlike some big guys named Hal Gill. Had a down year with the Habs, then again so did everyone on that team including Kovalev. He doesn't mind dropping the fists and would be a great shutdown defenseman on most teams. He made $1.9 mil in Mtl this past year, but teams will overpay for him like no other because of the lack of good defenseman in free agency.
Could sign with: Atl, Fla, Dal, Nyi, Phi, Wsh, TB

9. Scott Niedermayer D
last year with Ana:
14 goals 45 assists 59 points

Report: Anaheim wants to re-sign him for one or two more years. He's aging at 35 but he wants to play in the Vancouver '10 olympics and he's still got some good years left. A power play specialist, a shutdown defenseman, and has amazing hands. Was a big part of why Anaheim beat SJ and took Det. to 7 games this spring. Columbus is very interested in bringing a power play quarterback (they had the worst PP in NHL this year) in, at the right price they will go after Scott.
Could sign with: Ana, NJ, Nyr, Tor, Col, Cal

10. Brian Gionta RW
last year with NJ:
20 goals 40 assits 60 points

Report: His numbers have dropped since the 05-06 season when he scored 48 goals with the Devils. But he's been a 20-25 goal scorer with the potential for more. Feels like the East. Conf. version of Jonathan Cheechoo. This guy still has a lot to give. He's averaging 250 shots a season for NJ and he's got great speed. Put him on a team with some good centers (Pittsburgh?) and he'll be shining. I also blame his decline in numbers for the NJ lineup. Not much offense there to get him the puck besides Elias. Parise's a goal scorer, Roloston is old, Madden is a defensive player, Clarkson is an agitator, Zajac is a power forward, you get the point?
Could sign with: NJ, Cal, Van, Pit, Atl, Tor

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pens re-sign Alex Goligoski to 3-year Contract......Gonch/Feds update

The Pens came to terms with defenseman Alex Goligoski on a 3 yr/4.5 mil dollar deal this afternoon. So he'll be earning roughly $1 mil next year. Gogo as they call him, had 6 goals and 14 assists in 45 games with the Pens this past season. Gogo had the chance to play everyday after Gonchar and Whitney were out for an extended period in the first half of the season. Gogo is only 23 and he would've played in the lineup this year if not for the deep defensive core the Pens had. He's been a top Pens prospect ever since his college days with Minnesota. A couple years down the road once Gonchar is in retirement, Gogo and Letang will be the quarterbacks of the Pens power play for years to come. GM Shero hopes Gogo can be the QB of the 2nd PP unit for next year and see how he develops. This process is similiar to Letang's in the past couple years. Ease him into the 1st PP by playing him on the 2nd PP and in key offensive situations.
I'm not scared of Gogo's offensive skills, it's his defense which he has to work on. He'll have the off season to get stronger and better.

What now for Gill and Scuderi?

With this signing, it looks as though one of them or both are gone for sure. Scuderi's market value has skyrocketed so his worth is much higher but he's a much more valuable player than Gill. Gill will no doubt be let go but this signing may signify some sort of departure for Scuds as well. Especially with defenseman Lovejoy also ready to make the roster from the minors.

Gonchar and Fedotenko update?

An extension with Gonchar has been discussed the last couple weeks. It looks to be a 2-3 year deal in the $4-5 mil a yr range. Gonch said he would take a small discount and play another couple years with the Pens before retiring.
GM Ray Shero has been in talks with Feds and the two sides are hoping a 2 yr deal will be worked out in the $2-2.5 mil a year range.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pens Unrestricted Free Agents

Pens UFAs
: RW Miro Satan, RW Petr Sykora, RW Bill Guerin, LW Ruslan Fedotenko, D Hal Gill, D Philippe Boucher, D Rob Scuderi, C Mike Zigomanis, RW Craig Adams.

Minor League UFAs: LW Jeff Taffe and LW Chris Minard

Minor League RFAs: D Ben Lovejoy and D Alex Goligoski

Who we need to sign?

Fedotenko- Feds had an average regular season but had another great playoffs collecting 14 pts (7 g 7 a) and being a key part of the Pens 2nd line with Geno and Talbot. Feds was brought in as a replacement for Ryan Malone last summer in free agency, although he hasn't had the same net presence as Malone, he still checks hard and has a great shot as the playoffs showed.
current contract: $2.25 mil.
projected contract: $ 2 mil.

Scuderi- Scuds was a key part of the Pens defensive shutdown unit with Hal Gill throughout the regular season and in the playoffs. He showed why he is so good in his own end. Great on his backhand and even better with his stick. It always seems to be in the shooting lanes of forwards and disrupts their time. He was able to contain Alex Ovechkin in the 2nd round and able to shutdown Eric Staal in the 3rd round. We'll never forget his saves on Franzen in game 6 of the finals.
current contract: $750k
projected contract: $2.3-2.6 mil

Zigomanis- Ziggy was traded to the Pens from the Coyotes in the first month of the season and he became a go to faceoff guy. He was winning roughly 58% of his faceoffs and Therrien was constantly using him in important faceoffs, both on the power play and penalty kill. His contract is cheap and he'd be a great 4th line center to have. Max Talbot has showed us he's capable of being on the 2nd line.
current contract: $650k
projected contract: $600k

Who needs to leave?

Sure we all love Billy. He's a great lockerroom presence, funny guy, and a great player. Although he showed a lot of chemistry with Crosby after we acquired him, he was running out of gas by the time we got to the finals. If he takes a discount to stay and play on the Pens I'm all for it. But Guerin isn't THE answer for Crosby's wing. There will be a lot of other good players to choose from, and Guerin who's 38 isn't exactly in his prime. Kovalev(Mtl), Tanguay(Mtl), Cammalerri(Cal), Havlat(Chi), and Gaborik(Min) are all out there and would be better fits than Guerin. I know the players like Guerin and he wants to stay, but I can't see him lasting the whole season next year without getting burned out at some point. Look at Sykora and Satan this year.
current contract: $ 4.5 mil
projected contract: $3-4 mil range

He was the other piece of the shutdown pairing with Scuderi. What a turn around he's had in his career. From being on one of the worst teams a couple years in Toronto to being traded to the Pens and winning a Cup. Gill used his size and reach very well this time during the playoffs and didn't let Holmstrom of the Wings push him around that much. But, he's getting old and he's very slow. In the system we have under Bylsma, we can't have too many slow skaters who don't move the puck up ice well. Eaton isn't too good at it, neither is Scuderi, and then there's Gill. Moreover we have Goligoski and Lovejoy in the minors waiting for a shot in the NHL. And there are a lot of better options in the UFA market. Beauchemin(Ana), Blake(SJ), Boynton(Fla), and Zanon(Nsh) among others.
current contract: $2.1 mil
projected contract: $2.5 mil

Satan & Sykora- Miro was brought in to help replace some of the production Hossa had when he left. Nothing came about as Miro only had 36 pts(17 g 19a) playing alongside Crosby most of the year. At the trade deadline he was sent down to the minors to make room for the acquisitions. He came back for the playoffs and played very well on the 4th line when Sykora was scratched. He scored a crucial 1st goal in game 1 vs. Carolina. But he's also too old and too slow for the Pens high octane system.
Sykora had his typical year having 46 pts(25 g 21 a). But he was held scoreless the last 3rd of the season and eventually became a healthy scratch late in the Philly series. He's a nice guy, good friends with Geno, and still scored 25 goals during the regular season and finally had his first hat trick of his career. But he's getting old and very slow as well. He doesn't backcheck, doesn't forecheck, and at the end of the year he wasn't scoring those wide open goals from the slot.

You'll be happy to know the KHL is offering Sykora and Satan some nice contracts. Sykora in the 4 mil a yr range and Satan in the 2-3 mil a yr range.

Note #2: The Pens want to extend Gonchar's contract for a couple more years. The extension will be somewhere in the 4-5 mil a yr range. Gonchar's contract expires next summer.