Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time to Question the Penguins

I look at the deal from the Penguins side of the table and I do begin to wonder a little bit... is a top six forward worth the same as a top two defenseman? Sure, Chris Kunitz does bring some offensive intangibles that Ryan Whitney doesn't, but Whitney sure brings a lot more to the table from a defensive side of things, not to mention a great shot from the point.

I mean, Kunitz has had some good numbers, but he has been playing with a duo with awesome chemistry in Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, which has to mean good things, right? Kunitz may have been over-valued in this deal, unless Eric Tangradi, the prospect that they acquired with Kunitz, does bring a ton to the table. Nevertheless, they have added a good forward to play with their top centres and he's signed on for a while as well.

Come the 2009/'10 season, the Penguins do have a good number of players signed, including three top-flight centres, a number one defender and a number one goalie. These players do come at a costly price, at a $45.8 million cap hit for 14 signed players. That does leave enough room for 8 depth players to be signed on through the off-season, but it doesn't leave themselves much more than that.

Evgeni MalkinSergei GoncharMarc-Andre Fleury
Sidney CrosbyKristopher Letang
Chris KunitzBrooks Orpik
Jordan StaalMark Eaton
Matt Cooke

Tyler Kennedy

Pascal Dupuis

Max Talbot

Eric Godard

The Penguins have one key restricted free agent to look after this summer and that's Alex Goligoski, who has now come to the end of his entry-level deal. If he is to get a lot of minutes next season, his agent will likely look for a reasonable market price for Goligoski or he could be the subject to an offer sheet or two by another team. Doesn't that sound awfully intriguing.

The UFA crop out of Pittsburgh is rather aged, but still has some game left in them. Petr Sykora (32), Miroslav Satan (34), Ruslan Fedotenko (30), Rob Scuderi (30), Mathieu Garon (31) and Phillipe Boucher (36) may have new addresses by next October, because this sort of depth will come at a cost that Pittsburgh won't be able to afford.

I think we'll see yet another variant of the Penguins team that made the Cup Finals a year ago, but improvement may not be in the works for them. They are not in a playoff position right now and having the two top scorers in the league isn't helping them win games. Depth is where teams are really making their mark nowadays and if you don't have quality, hard-working depth at a reasonable cost, a lot of teams will fail to make their mark in the Standings. The Sharks, Bruins and Red Wings are all good examples of cost-effective depth teams.

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