Category Archives: Pittsburgh Penguins
In the wake of the Jordan Staal trade Friday, the Penguins have identified their nucleus as Crosby, reigning league MVP and scoring champ Evgeni Malkin, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, winger James Neal and defenseman Kris Letang.
Fleury, 27, is the oldest of those players. Neal and Crosby, both 24, are the youngest.
Any deals by the Penguins to add Suter, 27, and Parise, 28, would be made with the idea of keeping Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Neal and Letang through at least the expiration of Fleury’s contract in three years.
The Penguins won’t consider signing a player to a salary higher than Crosby’s, and they will not front-load deals to lure free agents.
The Penguins are aggressively shopping defenseman Paul Martin. His contract, which has three years and $15 million remaining, must be shed to make a serious run for Suter and Parise.
Trades of Staal (to Carolina) and defenseman Zbynek Michalek (to Phoenix) on Day 1 of the draft opened $6 million in annual salary-cap space for the Penguins. They are nearly $15 million under the projected $70 million upper limit for next season, pending terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Though defense is the organizational strength at the prospect level, including four defensemen selected in the first two rounds of the most recent drafts, the Penguins crave a top-pairing partner for Letang.
Suter is the target, though there are contingencies to add a defenseman this offseason — most likely via trade — if the Penguins fail. They are open to including defensive prospect Simon Despres in a potential deal to land a top-shelf defenseman.
With the NHL draft at Consol Energy Center just a few days away, speculation about trades involving some big-name players, including Penguins center Jordan Staal, is ratcheting up. Now, it still isn’t clear whether Staal is interested in leaving the Penguins – general manager Ray Shero hasn’t spoken with reporters in several weeks, and agent Paul Krepelka has declined to discuss anything about Staal’s situation – but if he is going to be moved, he certainly would not be the first prominent player to be dealt shortly before a draft. Or even after one has begun, for that matter.
Carolina has been singled out as a likely landing spot if Staal gets traded, and that makes sense on a number of levels. The Hurricanes are shopping for a quality forward to play with Eric Staal and, because a deal would unite the younger Staal with his brother, Carolina presumably would have a decent chance of getting Jordan Staal’s name on a contract to follow the one that expires after next season. Whether Carolina has – or is willing to part with – the assets the Penguins would require to go along with such a swap is a separate issue.
It has been suggested that the Penguins would want the Hurricanes’ first-round draft choice, No. 8 overall, to be part of any package for Staal because it would liven up the proceedings at the Penguins’ home arena Friday. That might make for good theater, but it isn’t necessarily good management. There’s nothing at all wrong with acquiring a quality draft choice if such a trade is made, but doing it solely to give the crowd a short-lived sugar-high would be a grievous lapse in judgment. Trading Staal would be a move that could have repercussions for the Penguins for years. Accepting a package solely, or even partially, because it would inject a buzz into the draft proceedings Friday would be the kind of short-sighted mistake Shero has managed to avoid for most of his six-plus years on the job.
1. Rick Nash, LW, Columbus: If talk indeed turns to action, Nash will be dealt this summer.
The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks were left at the alter at the February trade deadline because they weren’t willing to pay the massive price being demanded by Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson.
2. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver: There are a lot of teams looking for goaltending: Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus and the Chicago Blackhawks to name a few.
The issue is the contract given to Luongo by Canucks GM Mike Gillis. He always considers himself the smartest guy in the room, but giving Luongo a deal through with a cap hit of $5.3 million through 2021-22 was ridiculous.
3. Jordan Staal, C, Pittsburgh: This guy would attract plenty of attention. He is the best third-line centre in the league.
The Penguins are going to have to clear cash if they’re going to keep this team together. That could mean moving out a player like Staal because Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren’t going anywhere.
4. Jonathan Bernier, G, Los Angeles: He could do just fine sitting behind Jonathan Quick.
If there’s anything this run to the Stanley Cup final has proven, Quick is the man with the Kings and Bernier, 23, is going to have to be happy playing the No. 2 role until a trade is made.
5. Tim Thomas, G, Boston: The Bruins have a huge headache on their hands with this guy.
Thomas, 38, has declared he has no plans to play next season. He says he wants to spend more time with family, but many believe he wants to make sure he controls his own destiny when his “no-move” clause expires July 1.
Keep an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes when it comes to how things play out on the Jordan Staal front with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As I wrote recently, the Penguins’ top priority is to sign Sidney Crosby and Staal to contract extensions this summer — both centers are UFA-eligible on July 1, 2013 — but if they can’t get both done in a cap-sensible manner, it could open the door for Staal to be dealt.
Several teams have already expressed an interest regarding Staal, but I believe the Hurricanes will be aggressive in trying to trade for him, with the idea to have him on same team as his brother, Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.
If the Penguins decide to open the trade market on Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh could get more out of Carolina in a traditional hockey deal than from other teams.
Why? While other teams might point to the fact that Staal has only one year left on his deal and won’t want to give up too much for a pending 2013 UFA, the Hurricanes may be willing to take more of a long-term gamble that, given the sibling tie-in, they could re-sign Staal.
Either way, the Hurricanes are going to be an interesting team this summer. I believe they’re going to add to their payroll and want to upgrade with one or two forwards.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The Penguins then signed Vokoun to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $2 million. Vokoun’s contract begins with the 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign.
Vokoun, 35, recently completed his 13th NHL season with Washington, posting a 25-17-2 record, 2.51 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and four shutouts in 48 games. One of Vokoun’s shutouts was a 30-save performance in a 1-0 victory over the Penguins on Jan. 11 at the Verizon Center.
A native of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Vokoun’s 25 victories this season marked the ninth-straight season he has surpassed the 20-win plateau. During that span, Vokoun has topped 25 wins seven times, including three seasons when he has posted 30-plus victories.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Vokoun enters the 2012-13 season ranked sixth among active netminders with 287 career victories – leaving him 13 shy of becoming just the 31st goaltender in NHL history to reach 300 career wins.
Vokoun has appeared in 401 games since the NHL returned from the lockout in 2005-06, the eight-highest total during that span, while also posting 36 shutouts – an average of 5.1 per season. Over the last four seasons, the two-time NHL All-Star (2004, ’08) has posted a .923 save percentage.
Pittsburgh now that the draft is over and days away from July first have decided to kick it into high gear to maintain what players they can. Reports from a local news station have just reported that the pens have tendered offers to three of there major role players.
It looks as if the Penguins have found their solution to the center position. And it’s the same solution they found back in 1984.