The Latest on the Penguins – June 9, 2013.

Penguins GM Ray Shero has some significant decisions to make  this summer. Will he keep head coach Dan Bylsma? Will he trade or buy out Marc-Andre Fleury? Could he re-sign Jarome Iginla,Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke? Does he need to make other moves to re-sign Evgeni Malkin? Read on for the latest.

Penguins GM Ray Shero faces a busy off-season.

Penguins GM Ray Shero faces a busy off-season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi examined the choice facing Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero this summer. Ownership will leave any decision on the future of coach Dan Bylsma up to Shero. Bylsma has one year left on his current contract, and Shero previously claimed he was pleased with his coach.

Ownership has also authorized Shero to spend what’s necessary to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, which could run the league maximum (eight years, $102.88 million, a $12.86 million annual cap hit). Malkin prefers to play in the NHL and remain with the Penguins, but hasn’t said if he’d accept a “hometown discount”.  Kris Letang, who like Malkin will be a UFA next summer, wants to re-sign, leading Rossi to suggest Erik Karlsson’s contract (six years, $39 million, a $6.5 million annual cap hit) as a comparable.

It remains to be seen if Shero re-signs UFA Pascal Dupuis. The Penguins GM has held contract talks with Matt Cooke, but Cooke wants a three-year deal, while Shero is offering two years. Fellow UFA forward Craig Adams seeks a two-year deal. RFA Tyler Kennedy, who was in and out of the lineup, could be a tradeable asset, though Rossi suggests the potential departure of five forward via the UFA market could make the case for keeping Kennedy.

Shero reportedly loves Jarome Iginla but not how Bylsma used him. Rossi suggests a multi-year deal could be worked out with Iginla if he’s interested in staying, but believes “Iggy” would want a “no-movement” clause. Morrow and Murray aren’t expected to be re-signed. Marc-Andre Fleury could be a buyout candidate, though Shero has not given any indication that could happen.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports “a league executive” expects the Pittsburgh Penguins will either move Chris Kunitz or James Neal with the salary cap going down to clear cap space to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, who’ll be a UFA next summer. Garrioch also believes the Penguins could either trade Marc-Andre Fleury (suggesting Minnesota, Colorado or Florida as destinations) or buy out the remaining two years of his deal and go in a different direction, like making a pitch for Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.

DENVER POST: Adrian Dater makes the case for the Colorado Avalanche to buy out the remainder of David Jones’ contract and use the available cap space to sign Iginla.

CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis believes Iginla will have to accept a significant pay cut (he made $7 million this season) if he hopes to sign with a Stanley Cup contender this summer, partially because of his woeful performance in the Eastern Conference Final, and partially because of his age.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terrific piece by Rossi on the decisions facing Shero this summer. Ignore the nonsense about Malkin being traded. I also believe Letang will be re-signed as he’s their best puck-moving defenseman.

Not sure why that unnamed NHL executive cited by Garrioch believes the Penguins need to move Kunitz or Neal to free up room to re-sign Malkin. For one thing, Kunitz – like Malkin – is eligible for UFA status next summer, so there’s no need to trade him. For another, the Penguins currently have over $39 million in projected cap space for 2014-15 (assuming the cap remains at $64.3 million), which I anticipate will increase when the cap rebounds to over $70 million for ’14-’15, and if they move out Fleury via trade or buyout. So, they’ll have plenty of room to re-sign Malkin and Letang, though they could eat up at least $16 million combined in average annual salaries.

If they lose most or all of their UFA forwards, they’ll have little choice but to retain Kennedy. Iginla could stay, though I suspect he’d have to accept a two-three year deal for around $3.5-$4 million per season. Even so, that could depend on if Bylsma remains coach, and if Shero feels “Iggy” has enough in the tank to rebound. I agree with Francis that Iginla would to accept a significant pay cut if he hopes to play for a Cup contender next season.

As for Fleury, I just can’t see the justification for keeping him now. If there’s a market for him, shop him. If not, buy him out, stick with Vokoun and bring in a promising young goalie who can take over full time in 2014-15. Sure, they could make a pitch for Miller, but they would need assurances he’d be willing to re-sign, which would also prove expensive.


  1. Garrioch is an idiot. I’m still waiting for Gonchar to be traded to the Pens. He isn’t legit at all.

    • Gonch’s rights were traded to the Stars, so he’s not coming to the Pens. Plus, he could wind up playing in the KHL soon.

      • He was stating on waiting on the same trade that garrioch stated back at the deadline about gonchar to pens. Basically stating that garrioch is a joke and knows nothing.

    • Garrioch the Hut an idiot? Blasphemy! 😉

  2. Again the answer to your question Lyle is….Garrioch is a buffoon, thought you knew this already 😉

  3. I think Iggy will sign for 3 million a season. Fleury will be traded and it will bite them in the ass. Though if they trade fleury they could move back into the first to draft fucale…let him sit and not rush him into the NHL like they did fleury. Have some stop gap for two years then run with fucale. Just an idea

    • Not a bad idea…may take a little longer but their core is far from old…

      • Exactly my point. They have the prices to continue to make a run after run so getting rid of fleury to get fucale and letting him grow would only help them long term. They have a shit ton of defensive prospects coming. Everyone talks about how great the oilers will be in a few years (and they will be). But I’d still take Crosby and Malkin over them…

  4. My money is fleury to buffalo for miller and stanford. Would be a good move for both teams and both teams move players that are in the dog house. Will also say malkin resigned. Iggy resigned. Cooke resigned. Martin or Letang traded for roster player, prospect, and pick. There could be other moves as well but this pens team will have a different look going into 13-14 season. Only Crosby, malkin, and neal will be your young core players that the team will be built around.

    • Buffalo would be insane to make that trade.

    • I agree with a potential Fleury to Buffalo for Miller+… but I do not think that the + would be Stanford.

  5. Pens need to sign Dupuis, Cooke and Adams. These are the critical parts of the team. Obviously, stars don’t win championships – teams win championships and all three of these players make the core of the team. Expect 2 of the 3 defenseman to be traded by spring deadline – Martin, Orpik, Letang. They cannot keep them and have the ability to resign what they will need in 2014. Penguins have a lot of young talent on defense that will allow them to afford to keep talented forwards – including Malkin, Crosby, Neal, Kunitz. Iginla is a real possibility, but look at free agents like St Louis Stewart, or another power forward to fill out top six for Penguins with Bennett.

  6. I heard Iggy wants to play in California, so that means the Kings or the Sharks. I think this was the last window for Pittsburgh for a few years. Crosby , Malkin, Sutter, Neal are young enough to endure a rebuild for a few years, they have to draft / trade develop some youth. Bye Bye…Cooke, Eaton, Iginla, Morrow, Murray, Adams, Dupuis. Maybe they trade some rights before the deadline for picks like Ottawa did with Gonchar.

    • How can the window be closing on a team that has Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang, etc.? Please, what an idiotic statement. I agree, however, that the Pens need to move on with Cooke, Eaton, Iginla, Morrow, Murray, Adams, Dupuis, Kennedy & Fleury. Guys like Cooke, Adams, Kennedy, Vitale, Glass, Eaton are a dime a dozen … penalty killers – big deal, everybody should be a penalty killer … Iginla, Morrow & Eaton are washed up, Murray can’t skate, Cooke takes dumb penalties and can’t score, Kennedy is fast but nothing else and can’t give big money to Dupuis no matter how many goals he scored, he’s not getting any younger … when is Ray Shero going to be held accountable?

  7. The idea of trading James Neal to make room for Malkin is idiotic.

    I hate to see Bylsma go, but his refusal or inability to alter the game plan has caused the team to fail one time too many. Also, his man-crush on some players is also hurting the team. I hate to see it, but he needs replaced. Not resigning Murray is a mistake. His physical play is actually better than how people claim Oprik plays. He is more physical in the average period than Orpik is in the average game. The Pens need someone that is physical like that.

    Malkin is skill, and that is it. He has two gears, 6th, and park… and he doesn’t maintain 6th enough. Like it or not, he is the first place that you need to look when considering upsetting the apple cart. Fleury’s days in Pittsburgh are over. He needed to rebound in the playoffs this year after his playoff performance last year, he failed. He should be moved while he still has some value.

    By the way, the Pens are not going to buy-out anyone. Keep or trade, that is all.

  8. Ed,
    Because they also have Martin and Fleury, and less than 3 million to add 5 roster players next year, assuming they do not buy anyone out. If they do a significant $ buyout, say 5 million, it gives them under 8 million to sign 6 players. This year they added Iginla, Morrow and Murray, all considered by many the best pieces to put an already “stacked” team over the top and win the cup. We know that did not happen and we agree none of those guys will be back. So with 3 or 8 million, take your pick, spread over 5 or 6 players, who are they adding to even match how far they got this year? Fleury is toast, but the coach says he is still # 1. Maybe the coach has worn out his welcome or is too personally attached and enamored with the stars. Maybe they both get sacked. And Vokoun is 37. How many years can he carry the torch? So I think they will have to wait a few more years till their prospects develop and replace those not named Crosby, Malkin and Neal. Too many other teams have more cap room to make themselves better opponents against the Penguins. Not to mention Malkin, Vokoun, Letang and Orpik are all UFA’s next year. No guarantees they hang around anyway. How long till Malkin tires of playing second fiddle to Sid?

    • The Pens have $7.8M cap space and 3 NHL-level forward roster spots to fill. Not sure where your $3M/5 player figure comes from. However, I do agree that Vokoun is too old to be “the answer”. Fleury needs moved to get a new look. He needs a new environment to push him.

  9. Jim,

    Apologies. I read the wrong line on capgeek, but its still tight and they still need players to sign up to to a 23 man roster.

    • No need to appologize, I could just have easily made an error is what I was looking at. Agree with the 23 man roster, but 21-23 can easily be plucked from the $500K minor league guys that are already signed. And as they do not always have 3 scratches going… they do not need to have 23 on the NHL roster at all times.