Roughly nine hours in to the 2015 NHL Free Agency period and many of the players who hit the market have already found new homes. So who is left for the Penguins to look at signing?
Shawn Matthias (Center)
Maybe a bit far fetched here, but I am still holding out hope that Brandon Sutter will be moved at some point. Because of that I listed Shawn Matthias who is a Centerman, but may not mind making the shift to Wing.
He is 27 years old 6’3″ and 218lbs. He could bring size and grit to the bottom six and could make things much more interesting on the PK.
Ideally I can see him as a third liner, but he does have the ability to pitch in on occasion in a second line role.
Erik Cole (Left Wing)
With expectations that Chris Kunitz will find himself in a new jersey by training camp I can see Erik Cole filling that hole on the third line. He isn’t the flashiest of players but he can get the job done. At 36 though how much can he bring besides a smaller cap hit than what Kunitz would bring?
Dan Cleary (Left Wing/Right Wing)
Another depth man, someone who could slide in to a third line role and be affective on the Penguins. Let’s not forget while we all hope to see Dupuis back on the ice with no issues this season, there is no telling how long it will last or if he can even play next season.
Johnny Oduya (Defense)
Figure I would throw a couple Defenders on here. Oduya is a strong Stay at home Defender who could bring a different type of game to the Penguins Blue-line. At 33 though he may be looking for one big contract to cash out on. Especially with the market as bare as it is with quality defenders.
Cody Franson (Defense)
The 27 year old defender has found himself in a nice predicament. The market is lax on Top Pairing Defenders, which means a 3/4 guy like Franson can get a nice pay day. It’s unlikely the Penguins can afford him, it would be a cool scenario to see a blue-line with… Letang-Maatta/Pouliot-Franson/Love-joy-Dumoulin
Sergei Gonchar (Defense)
Maybe the cheapest to acquire of the bunch, it is believed he would like to return to Pittsburgh for a final season and then transition into a coaching role with the club. A Quality PP anchor and great mentor for Pouliot this wouldn’t be a bad idea. Rumor has it he would be willing to take league minimum…hmm?
There you have it. A few names on the offensive and defensive side of the puck that are still available and worth looking at. At least from a Cap perspective. Remember Pens only have around $6 million to sign players with at this point. Obviously if a trade is made to move some salary out it would increase, but as of now it is what it is.
Also keep in mind this is merely a few options, GMJR and the staff may have others in mind and could find other ways to bring players on board.
– Robert Slavinsky
Follow me on Twitter @Rslavi_HTPens