After general manager Ray Shero decided to take the offer for Jaromir Jagr off the table, it was time for the Penguins to move ahead and focus on how to further help their team. Shero’s first task was re-signing Tyler Kennedy to a two-year deal worth $4 million. It originally looked like the Penguins would let Kennedy test the free-agent market, as Shero felt Kennedy was overvaluing himself. Kennedy stepped up in a big way last year with all the injuries that took place and made himself into a household name.
Kennedy scored 21 goals and had 24 assists in 80 games last season and trailed only Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz in points for the year. Kennedy said that he turned down more money to stay with the Penguins because he loved it in Pittsburgh and felt this was his best chance to win. While Kennedy will go back to more of a role-player, it’s at least nice to know what he is capable of when called upon. At only 24, Kennedy is still young enough to be able to test the market again in two years and then cash in similar to the path that Max Talbot took.
Speaking of Talbot, he joined Jaromir Jagr in Philadelphia for a five-year $9 million deal and Mike Rupp signed with the New York Rangers for a four-year $9.5 million deal.
“My foundation is going to stay in Pittsburgh. It was six years, and I worked hard to establish that knowing I could be somewhere else someday. The money I raise there will stay there. It’s not like the base of fans I created — at least I hope not — won’t support my charity work,” Talbot told Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I don’t want to be thought of as a traitor. I know it’s emotional for fans for me to be leaving for the Flyers, but I hope I’ll still have some support. It’s going be tough for fans to accept. If people are upset, they are allowed to be, but I hope they say, ‘Max helped us a lot and tried to do stuff in the city and stuff like that.’
While the fans were upset losing Talbot and Rupp, the Penguins wasted no time in add winger Steve Sullivan. Sullivan, who turns 37 on Wednesday, played in only 44 games last year due to injury, but still scored 10 goals and had 12 assists. The 5’8, 161 pound Sullivan signed a one-year deal for $1.5 million on Friday. Sullivan, who has had a history of back problems and underwent sports hernia surgery in March, says he’ll be fine for this year and Shero thinks so also.
“He’s still a pretty dynamic player,” Shero said. “Looking at what we’re trying to do – which is improve our power play – he’s a guy that can potentially help us there. He’s a right-hand shot that plays the off side and can play up high as well. He’s got really good speed and is a very smart player. He can play with good players as well.”
With Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the way back, the Penguins didn’t have to splurge into the free-agent market to help their team. Keeping players with the organization that will take less money because they want to win, is the exact recipe for success that Shero has in mind.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com