Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pens sign Matt Cooke

Matt Cooke signed a two year deal worth $2.4 million with the Pens on Saturday. He took a pay cut to come to Pittsburgh.

This is the guy that many people thought the Pens should go after a few years back when they got Jarkko Ruutu. Cooke is, by all accounts, faster than Ruutu. He can also chip in offensively more than Ruutu did.

Cooke will score 10-15 goals and won't kill you with penalty minutes, while bringing a physical presence.

Great signing by GM Ray Shero.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Free Agency - Day 3

Things are staying busy for GM Ray Shero these days. You have to figure that busy time is going to slow down. Here's a synopsis of day 3:
  • Miroslav Satan signed for one year at $3.5 million.
  • Ruslan Fedotenko signed for one year at $2.5 million.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury signed a seven year contract worth $35 million.
  • Evgeni Malkin's extension became official. He has essentially the same deal Crosby received.
  • Georges Laraque signed with Montreal (3 yrs, $4.5 million).
  • Naslund signed with the Rangers and Jagr signed with a Russian team.
I really like the Satan and Fedotenko signings. Both guys took a pay cut because of poor performance last year. Satan has been in decline for the past two seasons, but time on Long Island will do that to anyone. Fedotenko is the replacement for Ryan Malone, which is to say he's an inconsistent left wing.

Both Satan and Fedotenko (need a nickname for him soon - Fedotenko is too much to type) have something to prove, and Ray Shero is giving them the chance to prove it. If they play well, they'll get bigger money next year.

Locking up Fleury and Gino leaves Staal as the remaining core component that needs to sign. After his regression last year in the goal scoring department, I'd try to sign him long term. If I'm Jordan, however, I'd want to wait until after this season when I would likely have better numbers to negotiate with.

So what's left? You have to figure the Pens could use more scoring and depth at forward, and they have a plethora of defensemen. Something could happen there. You also have to wonder if they'll be comfortable with Sabu as the backup goalie.

There are still a few things to figure out, but I think Ray Shero has done a great job filling the gaps so far.

Happy 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Free Agency - Day 2

I didn't think day 2 could be more exciting than day 1, but it was. Here's the quick synopsis:
  • Hossa signs a one-year deal with Detroit for $7.4 million.
  • Ruutu signs a three-year contract with Ottawa at $1.3 million per season (he made $1.15 last year)
  • Orpik signs with the Pens - 6 years (wow) at $22.5 million ($3.75 million per year against the cap for the math-challenged)
It's great to see the Pens sign Orpik. He brings a much needed physical presence. This does leave them with 8 NHL defensemen (Gonchar, Orpik, Scuderi, Whitney, Gill, Sydor, Eaton, Letang) plus Goligoski. Some of those guys won't be here to start the season.

The rumor is that they're going to trade Gonchar. I can't see that unless you get a really good winger in return. Even with that, I think Sarge has been the glue that holds that defense together. He's top 3 or 4 in the league right now. You can't replace him.

You also have to wonder if the exodus out of Pittsburgh is just guys taking advantage of the team's success. Is there something more here? Is Therrien that hard to play for? Does Gino not speak enough English? Does Sid have nasty BO? The guys that left, except maybe Malone, aren't signing for huge money. Ruutu, Hall, Conklin and even Hossa are taking money that's in the ballpark of what the Pens were probably offering. What's the deal?

Speaking of Hossa, he did deliver a slap to the Pens on the way out in saying that he thought Detroit had the better chance to win the Cup. I can't say I disagree, but it doesn't make it any easier to hear.

There aren't too many impact players left after the first two days (hello, Jaromir), so it will be interesting to see where the Pens go from here.

Hossa signs with Detroit

Just a one year deal for $7.4 million.

My guess is that he didn't give Ray Shero a chance to match, because if I'm Mr Shero, I jump at that offer.

This makes the offensive situation at forward a bit on the bleak side compared to last year. It will be interesting to see how our GM manages to fill in the holes. I don't think it will be Jagr filling them... but that's just my opinion.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Free Agency - Day 1

So what went down today for the Pens in the free agent market? Here's a summary from the Trib. The short version:

Dupuis - 3 years - $4.2 million
Eaton - 2 years - $2.0 million
Godard - 3 years - no dollar amount given

I like the signing of Dupuis and Eaton. Both are good players and both are at good dollar amounts. If Eaton can stay healthy for an entire season, he's a steal at $1.0 million per year. Dupuis at $1.4 isn't bad either.

The only question I have is that the Pens now have 7 NHL defensemen, with Alex Goligoski possibly ready to join the big club. That's before mentioning Brooks Orpik, but I think the Eaton signing may signal the end for Brooks in Pittsburgh.

The Godard signing probably means that there will be no Georges Laraque either - you can't have two right wings that play 5:00 per night, and that's what Godard is. I suppose you could put him in Wilkes-Barre, but you wouldn't think that would happen - he played 74 games in the NHL last year for Calgary.

Adam Hall signed in Tampa for bargain basement dollars - 3 yrs, $1.8 million. Not sure why he didn't resign here. Maybe Ray Shero didn't make him an offer, and maybe he wanted to play more...

The only one I'm really curious about is Ty Conklin. I know the Pens have Sabourin, but Conk signed with Detroit for only $750,000. Granted it was just for one year, but Sabu is only signed for one more year. For that money, you could buy out Sabu and put Conk back in the second spot. Maybe he figures there's a better chance of Chris Oldgood breaking down in Detroit...

No signing yet for Hossa or Jagr. Things will be interesting, that's for sure.