Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back from Europe....Recap of Recent Pens Signings

Sorry for the lack of updates boys and girls, but I was away on vacation and slightly lazy. But here we are and I've got a boatload of updates.

Last week the Pens signed defenseman Jay Mckee to a 1 yr contract worth $800k. The Pens needed a D-man after Gill and Scuderi left and GoGo was the only one who took a spot. Mckee is a veteran presence at 32, he's been a leading shotblocker for many years in the league but he's had some injury problems of late. He did play 69 games last season with the Blues, but a combined 89 games the previous two seasons. He's an excellent shot blocker, can dish out some big hits, and is an excellent stay at home type guy.

The type of player Mckee is, in some ways reminds me of both Gill and Scuds. He does the little things very well defensively. He helped the Blues become a top 5 PK unit this past year. And comparing him to Gill, you can see that he's a big guy at 6'4 205 lbs, but he actually punishes people, Gill's to slow to do anything physically. Best of all, Mckee is used to playing in an uptempo offensive system from his days in Buffalo. He had his best years there, including a cup finals birth against Dallas in '99. Don't be surprised to see him switch numbers from his current #77 to his Buffalo #74.

Mckee wasn't concerned about how much money the Pens were to give him. After all, he's getting paid $2.67 mil by the Blues next year for not even playing for them. He was bought out by the team earlier this month and the Pens took advantage. This is a terrific bargain and in terms of what Dmen were left who could fill the void of Gill and Scuderi, Mckee was the best option. Boynton was a little too pricey, Alberts too slow, Semenov is not proven, etc.

-The Pens also came to terms yesterday with
defenseman Ben Lovejoy and Tim Wallace, both for two-way deals. Although Lovejoy's contract will be a 1 yr ($500k if he plays in NHL, $75k if in AHL) and Wallace will be a 2 yr with the same salary structure. Lovejoy has a real good shot at making the team but he'll most likely be the Pens 7th defenseman, the new Philippe Boucher if you will. Only Lovejoy has an immense amount of upside. Yes he's 25, but he had 31 pts in 76 games last season at WBS, and was constantly matched up against the opposing team's top lines. Wallace played in 16 games last season with the Pens and had a couple points. I like the grit and speed he adds to the team. He will drop the gloves and could land a spot on the 4th line this season.

Pens 2009-2010 Schedule update to come later tonight...

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