Since the end of the Penguins 2014/2015 season fan and media’s focus has been on what the Penguins will do when it comes to addressing the holes on their Top Six. And while there absolutely concern to be had there what may be just as important is what they will do about their the Bottom Six.
One name that appears to have popped up is Winger Joel Ward. At 34 years old he is coming off of a season where he scored 19 goals and 34 points in 82 games.
What makes this an interesting possibility is his apparent desire to play in Pittsburgh. It seems he has made a point to voice his interest in possibly playing in the Black and Vegas Gold this coming season.
While his age (34) is a bit worrisome, he is a big 6’1″ 226lb winger that is not afraid to use his body and get in the dirty areas. He has also played all 164 games in the past two seasons.
Ward would be an excellent pickup for a bottom six that, at this time, boasts Brandon Sutter as the best option available.
Below you can look at his Hero chart and really see how his presence would be welcomed to a Penguins team trying to not only add scoring but size as well.
The biggest concern at this point for someone like Ward is his apparent desire to get a 4 year contract. If the belief of him wanting to play in Pittsburgh is true maybe GMJR can find middle ground on a 2-3 year deal?
Another player who will now be available, thanks to a buy-out, is Viktor Stalberg.The 29 year old product from Sweden has struggled a bit the past two seasons while in Nashville which could be reason for his buy-out. However his advance stats show he is still a very capable option for any teams third line and could potentially pitch in on occasion in a top six role.
At 6’3″ and 209lbs he likes to play a hard nosed game and isn’t afraid to use his body to create room for his teammates. Let’s not forget he also has a Stanley Cup Ring from playing with the Blackhawks in 2013.
Below you will see his Hero chart and what he could bring to the bottom six this season.
The fact that he was just bought out he may be able to be had for a 1-2 year deal making less than Joel Ward or other potential bottom six players would make, so, why not?
Finally a name that has been floating around a bit and someone who would benefit from coming to a team not named the Coyotes would be Martin Erat.
While his stats may not be as impressive as those listed above in some regards, he is someone who has had the ability to elevate his teammates to higher levels. At 33 years old maybe a 1-2 year deal on a Penguins squad still trying to find itself could be beneficial not only for Erat but the other players on the team.
A few interesting names for sure and ones I am sure we will start to hear more and more about as July 1st approaches closer and closer.
Thanks for reading
– Robert Slavinsky