Sunday, August 05, 2007

Is it the Penguins Time Yet?

It is a bit surprising that one of the most popular teams in the NHL has waited until August to get it's team update. In my defense, they really haven't made many waves in the Free Agent Market or made any blockbuster trades, so actual news has been few and far between. On a relaxing Sunday morning though, I thought I would outline the young phenom team and we'll see what they've added or kept the same.

Gary RobertsSidney CrosbyMark Recchi
Erik ChristensenEvgeni MalkinPetr Sykora
Ryan MaloneJordan StaalColby Armstrong
Jarkko RuutuMaxime TalbotGeorges Laraque
Sergei GoncharRyan Whitney
Darryl SydorRob Scuderi
Brooks OrpikMark Eaton
Marc-Andre Fleury
Dany Sabourin

Well, it's pretty obvious what the Penguins still have from last season, so let's maybe start with the new additions. Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor are the immediate new faces, while Dany Sabourin makes his return from a small stint in Vancouver, as he was in the Penguins system for quite a few years. Sykora has really struggled in the past couple seasons to return to his best form, but he did manage to pot 22 goals for the Oilers last season and with the possibility of skating with either one of the dynamic centres on the team, he could have found himself in paradise. The stock has risen on Sykora, much like it would on anyone who has the potential of Crosby or Malkin as their linemate. Sydor will come to the team as the experienced 3rd defenseman. Sydor really hasn't been the major offensive contributor he once was either, but a fresh start in Pittsburgh will the tonic to what ails him. 2005/06 AHL Goaltender of the Year, Dany Sabourin, will back-up Marc-Andre Fleury this coming season, much like he did with Roberto Luongo in Vancouver. This time, however, he'll probably see a few more games and get his game legs underneath him a little faster. All in all, it looks like three good acquisitions made by the Pens.

It's really difficult to say much more than what is really obvious with the Penguins. You can highlight the fact that they had 3 players in the Top 25 of the pool ranks (Fleury being the 3rd, in 24th) and that their talents are only going to get better as 8 of these 20 guys are under 25, at the start of this season.

I suppose if you really wanted to ask some questions, it would be what the contribution levels will be of the veteran presence. Will Recchi still produce some offense? Is Roberts still good for 20 goals? What kind of wheels does Sydor have coming back into his own end? A lot of these questions will more or less effect the number of wins that Fleury may get, but how much of the slack will be taken care of by the abundance of offense from the kids?

With bonuses this season, the Penguins should easily hit the bottom level of the salary cap this season, but with just base salaries alone, the Penguins are sitting at roughly $32 million, $2.4 million less than the salary cap minimum. Whether or not they decide to make another signing before the season starts, just to make a better salary number, will be up to them. If they don't you'd have to believe that they are confident that bonuses will be met.

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