Pittsburgh Penguins

Print Share


Sign or Let Walk: Pens Free Agent Analysis

Currently signed players through 2010-2011 season include: (according to CapGeek)

Sidney Crosby $8.7M
Evgeni Malkin $8.7M
Marc-Andre Fleury $5.0M
Jordan Staal $4.0M
Brooks Oprik $3.75M
Chris Kunitz $3.725M
Kris Letang $3.5M
Alex Goligoski $1.83M
Pascal Dupuis $1.4M
Max Talbot $1.05M
Eric Tangradi $845,833
Mike Rupp $825,000
Eric Godard $750,000
Tyler Kennedy $725,000
Brent Johnson $600,000
Craig Adams $550,000

This totals $45,954,166.
That leaves approximately $10,845,834-$12,845,834 because the cap should increase about $2M.

Sergei Gonchar: The re-signing of Sarge is a very touchy subject amongst Pens fans. Part of the inconsistency of the team was because Gonchar was inconsistent. The aging 36-year old has played in a little over half of the Pens regular season games over the past 2 years. Although he is a great Power Play quarterback, the team didn’t have success while he was in the lineup last year. Part of the problem is too many quarterbacks on the Power Play. QB Sarge at the point, QB Malkin at the top of the circle, QB Crosby down below. Let the best play maker in hockey run the PP and say goodbye to #55. This would free up about $5M for a top free agent.

Alexei Ponikarovsky: Ray Shero finally failed on a deadline acquisition. The “scoring winger” notched 3 goals in 27 games with the Penguins and seemed invisible at most times. Shero saw something in Poni and I believe he will re-sign the Ukrainian for a two-year $3.75M contract. Because Alexei disappeared in a Penguins uniform, his free agent status fell. A $1.875M per year cap hit will be well worth his 40-50 points.

Mark Eaton: Eaton is a must sign. A shutdown defensive pair is a necessity for another Pens cup run. Mark Eaton is 1/2 of the shutdown pair and could look very good with an incoming free agent (Anton Volchenkov). If I were Shero, I would ink Eaton to a 3-year $7.5M contract. That’s $2.25M in 2010-2011 and $2.5M in 2011-2012 and $2.75M in 2012-2013.

Bill Guerin: With Eric “Big Dog” Tangradi on his way to the top (yes…Sid’s line), Pittsburgh will probably not be a good fit for Guerin. Not only would he have to take a pay cut, but he would be losing a lot of playing time as well. I believe the Pens will let Billy G walk away and he may retire.

Ruslan Fedotenko: Feds had a very disappointing year for the Pens in 09-10. As a top-6 winger and demanding around $2M per year, Ruslan seems to be a goner. He produced 30 points in 80 regular season games and only appeared in 6 playoff games. A minus-20 in the regular season and playoffs combined shows that Fedotenko lacks the desire to play two-way hockey. I would not be surprised if Shero offers Ruslan a one-year $1M sheet, but I’m confident he won’t re-sign. After his horrible performance this past season, Fedotenko should end up in the KHL next season.

Jordan Leopold: Ray Shero acquired Leopold at the deadline for a reason…to shutdown Ovechkin. The Pens need to stop Ovechkin in the Winter Classic and in the playoffs. I think Leopold will be re-signed to a two-year $3.75M deal and will help bring the Cup back to the Burgh. A $1.875M cap hit.

Jay McKee: The “Key” didn’t work out as well as the Pens wished. McKee just doesn’t fit in the Penguins plan. He is a solid defender that could replace a Paul Martin or Anton Volchenkov. Freeing up McKee’s cap space will help Shero make another trade deadline deal in 2011. The “Key” must walk and will bring success to another team.

Matt Cooke: The Pens MUST re-sign the cookie monster. Cooke is more than just the average agitator. When healthy, he is consistently a 30-point scorer. A three-year deal for $1.8M per year is the perfect way to keep the best 3rd line in hockey together for at least one more year.

If the Penguins Re-sign…
Mark Eaton $2.25M
Jordon Leopold $1.875M
Alexei Ponikarovsky $1.875M
Matt Cooke $1.8M

This adds up to $7,800,000 and makes the salary $53,754,166.
That leaves approximately $3,045,834-$5,045,834 to make free agent signings after July 1st.

D Anton Volchenkov: In my opinion, the Pens MUST ink Volchenkov. The 28 year old is the best shot-blocking and shutdown defenseman in the league. The Penguins should offer a 6-year contract. The deal would offer $4.25M for the first year, and $4.5M for every year after. The $26.75M contract would lock up a shutdown pair in Eaton/Volchenkov for at least 3 years.

There would be $795,834 left for Ray Shero to work with.

D Andy Sutton: The 6’6″ could be a decent pick up for the Pens if the Sens don’t re-sign him. The only problem is that he is 35 years old and could turn into a Jay McKee. He might not fit in the Penguins system and could be the odd man out especially if Deryk Engelland and/or Ben Lovejoy make the team.

There would be $1,445,834 left for Shero to work with.

D Paul Martin: The American Olympian is still flying under the radar. Playing in New Jersey’s defensive style for 6 seasons makes Martin a good fit for the Penguins. Last season, they got away from their defensive structure that Therrien had instilled in the players during his time as head coach. Martin would be half of the Pens new shutdown defensive pair. I would sign Paul Martin to a four year deal totaling $16M. A $4M per year cap hit.

There would be $1,045,834 left for Ray Shero.

LW Alexander Frolov: If Ponikoravski does not get re-signed, Frolov might be Malkin’s new winger. The 27 year old Russian has scored 50 points in each of the last five seasons with the LA Kings. On Malkin’s line, he could potentially be a 70 point scorer. I do not see the Penguins signing Frolov because there just would not be enough cash for everyone.

LW Alex Tanguay: If Poni doesn’t re-sign, Tanguay might be the only top 6 foward that the Pens could afford. Alex’s production has decreased in each of his last five seasons. The quality of his team has decreased in each of his last five seasons as well. Tanguay would look great with Crosby and Tangradi and the Pens could energize his career. Alex would be a steal at $2.8M per year. If I were Shero, I would look deeply into acquiring Tanguay for 3 years. The deal could total around $8.4M.

If Tanguay signs instead of Ponikarovsky, there would be $4,129,834 left for Shero.

The Penguins could potentially sign two incoming free agents depending on their salaries. The possibilities are Tanguay/Martin, Tanguay/Sutton. Tanguay/Volchenkov is probably not feasible, but you never know with Ray Shero.




About the Author Subscribe to author's RSS feed
Written by

Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In response to “Sign or Let Walk: Pens Free Agent Analysis”

  1. Eric Cooney Jun 16 20107:23 pm


    Sign Gonchar, Leopold, and Cooke. Walk on the rest and look for better options elsewhere. And for the love of God, trade Staal for wingers!

    1. Trent Kondo Jun 17 201010:56 am


      There have been some rumors about a Sharp/Lalonde for Staal deal. Not sure on the credibility of the source but it’s out there.

    2. Ben Petrino Jun 17 201011:04 am


      Don’t trade Staal, huge mistake. Trade Malkin for a superstar winger for Crosby to play with because that would be another cup hands down. Or trade Malkin for two very good wingers, a defenseman and a first rounder. I have a feeling that Volchenkov will be with the Caps next year because they have a few more Russians.

  2. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201011:36 am


    Trade Staal to Nashville. We will give you Erat or Dumont+

    1. James Centifonti Jun 17 201011:41 am


      Would Nashville like Ryan Parent back by any chance?

      1. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201011:47 am


        Sure if you take Jason Arnott off our hands. Maybe Dumont.

        1. James Centifonti Jun 17 201011:48 am


          no thanks. i was hoping for the rights to Hamhuis.

          1. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201011:56 am

            Deal. Where do I sign? Where does Poile sign?

          2. James Centifonti Jun 19 20103:26 pm

            who knew I saw Parent for the right to Hamhuis coming………haha

        2. James Centifonti Jun 17 201011:56 am


          the trick is if we don’t sign him to an extension then we get a 4th or 5th round pick.

          1. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201012:09 pm

            4th round pick you got it. How much of a raise is parent looking for?

        3. James Centifonti Jun 17 201012:10 pm


          No clue but I believe per the CBA it has to be 10% unless they agree to a larger contract.

          1. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201012:26 pm

            Probably about $850,000?

  3. ssphotography Jun 17 201011:38 am


    Trading malkin or staal would leave the city of Pittsburgh at Shero’s throat wanting blood. Malkin has been extremely spotty but if he could stay consistent there would be no reason to trade, as for Staal, without him the Penguins PK would be non-existent. My girlfriends uncle from New Brunswick is somehow friends with Guerin because they both come from Wilbraham MA which is 10 minutes away from us. He was told by Billy G that he is looking to retire, but I read on the Penguins site he wants to come back, so I don’t really know what to think about that situation. I say let Gonch walk though.

    1. grimis3593 Jun 17 201011:41 am


      I agree, now Goligoski has matured more also and he will keep getting better, and fill in for Gonchar if he leaves, yea it will be hard to find someone who is good like Gonchar on the pp but with Goligoski you can replace that.

  4. grimis3593 Jun 17 201011:38 am


    you have to be stupid if you want to trade staal. and as far as it goes for wings they don’t need any superstars, so why trade players like malkin and staal. thats why the penguins have malkin and crosby to make the players around them better. pick up a guy like tanguay or even talk about ray whitney they will find ways to score with crosby or malkin.

  5. James Centifonti Jun 17 201011:41 am


    Blow up the roster and start over. Clearly it’s needed if they want to win another cup.

    1. grimis3593 Jun 17 201011:43 am


      you obviously dont know what your talking about.

      1. Chris Rydburg Jun 17 201011:44 am


        Sarcasm is a beautiful thing

        1. James Centifonti Jun 17 201011:47 am


          Thank you, I was hoping somebody would catch on to my sarcasm.

    2. Andy Muka Jun 17 20108:49 pm


      I love the sarcasm! The Pens just need a couple small but crucial pieces to be back on top. Hence a shutdown defender and/or winger. The Cup belongs in Pittsburgh…it’s just on vacation to Chicago!

Add Your Comment