Here is a look at some of the News and Rumors about the Penguins. Including some tid bits around the league.
UPDATE! Season and Home Opener announced!
Penguins will Open the 2015-16 season @ Dallas on October 8th with their Home Opener taking place on October 13th against Montreal.
A couple players may be Russian over to the Penguins.
Sergei Plotnikov a 25 year old Russian Winger who most recently played for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL appears to have decided to sign a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1st and hopefully makes his debut in the NHL this fall on a line with Evgeni Malkin.
Reports state he is a Russian version of Patric Hornqvist who has a knack at producing points (He was third in scoring during the 2014 Olympics). The biggest concern with Sergei is his skating, some feel it is something that needs improved, especially coming to the smaller ice of North American Hockey.
Viktor Tikhonov, who is still under contract with Arizona, despite not playing within their organization since the 2010-2011, where he played for their AHL affiliate, is expected to sign with an NHL team on or after July 1st. It is now rumored that he is another target by Penguins Management. At 27 years old he doesn’t have too many years experience in the NHL, but he has played well in Russia. He would bring size to the Penguins as well as good skill along the boards and in front of the net.
Could we see an entire Russian line come October with Tikhonov, Malkin and Plotnikov? If that happens I will feel bad for Mike Lange when he is making his play by play calls.
Is it really necessary to acquire someone like Sharp?
Rumors have been swirling since before last seasons Trade Deadline that GMJR had his sights set on acquiring 35 year old winger Patrick Sharp from the Chicago Blackhawks. So it is no surprise these talks have continued throughout the media and the fan base. The only realistic move here, if the Penguins do attempt to acquire him, is to move Brandon Sutter for him. The Hawks are going to be looking for a Third line center to replace Brad Richards and they will want someone who makes a low enough amount for chance at retaining prized RFA Brandon Saad.
Unfortunately for the Penguins this would not be a deal worth making. At least as it looks right now. Sharp makes $5.5 million this season and then $5 million Next season (but has a $5.9 million Cap hit both years) and his stats do not justify a cap hit of that magnitude, especially when Chris Kunitz makes less than him and put up nearly identical stats last year.
Maybe the belief is he will finish off his contract strong and a change of scenery can help that? Either way this is not a deal I want to see made.
Will we see Brandon Sutter Traded?
If a deal is not done by Draft day my guess is Sutter will not be moved, if at all, until the Trade Deadline this coming season. The Free Agent market has no real replacements and it is still unsure, Like Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune review says, that Oskar Sundqvist is ready for such a large role in the NHL.
Winnik’s time as a Penguins was short lived
According to reports the Penguins are not looking at pursuing a deal with Daniel Winnik.
Overtime Overhaul expected this Season.
It seems that the NHL will be going to a 5 minute 3 on 3 format this year and completely nixing the current 5 minute 4 on 4 format that has been used for the better part of two decades. More information will be announced over the coming days on this so stay tuned.
NHL Free Agent Interviews Begin Tomorrow 6/25/15
From this day until July 1st all teams have the ability to speak with upcoming Free Agents about their desire to acquire them. It’s a nice way to weed out the players which teams have no chance signing to a deal come the start of Free Agency. The only catch here is no actually contract talks can take place during this time. No deals can be made not on paper or verbally.
Be sure to check back for more updates and everything Penguins and NHL Hockey.
– Robert Slavinsky