Big Lead Sports Bar


Pens Free Agency Update

We're getting really close to the start of free agency in the NHL, and the clock is ticking for Ray Shero. How's that plan to re-stock the defense going?

"Gonchar would agree to a 3yr, $15 mil ext to stay in Pitt. Pens are stuck on 2 yrs max. Open market he could get $6 mil per year," said Darren Dreger of TSN on Twitter earlier today.

So it seems that player and team are at somewhat of an impasse - a familiar theme among the Penguins and their defensemen, as indicated by the failure to close the deal with freshly-acquired  Dan "Union Yes" Hamhuis. It looks more and more like Hamhuis will in fact go to free agency, partly because he's come this far, partly because he was the Nashville NHLPA player rep, and his hitting the open market will be in the best interest of his union brothers. Whether or not it was worth Shero giving a third-round pick for the opportunity to talk to him for a few days in advance of this period is going to be hotly debated based on what happens in the coming days.

The PG's Dave Molinari does not paint an especially inspiring picture of the situation either,  saying of Gonchar and Hamhuis, "...neither seems particularly close to accepting a contract."

Molinari also adds that the Pens are staying in touch with D Jordan Leopold and D Mark Eaton, and notes that both could move into more prominent spots if Hamhuis and/or Gonchar do not sign.
Whatever the case, the Pens are going to have some combination of available money and roster holes. Since it's not looking promising that one will take care of the other, it appears that unrestricted free agency will become an incredibly important (and interesting) time of year for the Pens, and if you're anything like me, you're really looking forward to seeing what happens next.  

For more on Pens free agency: 
Darren Dreger [Twitter]
On your mark...get set... [Mark Madden/WXDX]
Shero must keep options open [Rob Rossi/Trib]


Steve said...

Great, it's like a Marion Hossa flashback. Shero can't be left holding the bag again. I say if neither accept's the Pens offer before the end of the day, Shero should make Hamhuis an offer he can't refuse and consider Gonchar history.

If Hamhuis can't be signed by tomorrow morning, they should focus on guys like Eaton, Leopold and Guerin and try getting the best wingers available come noon with the $6 or so mil. they will have left.

Wags said...

Any truth to the rumor that Pitt is messing with the Gonchar negotiations by telling him that JoePa is getting too old?

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I love Gonch, but 3 years or $6 million is a little lofty at this stage in his career. Man, it hurts to say that, but that's the way the story goes.

You have to wonder, if neither sign, how is Shero going to look with this on the heels of the Poni trade? All of the sudden, people who supported the Hossa trade will be pointing out we gave up 2 NHL players a former #1 pick and a future #1 pick for Pascal Dupuis more or less.

Steve said...

Yup, Caputi and now a 3rd round pick for essentially nothing.

The only way Shero can keep from looking foolish is to sign Hambone. If he has to cave to Gonchar's demands for either 3-years at 15 mil., or 2-years a $6 mil, he'll come under fire, especially if Gonchar continues to decline and/or does he yearly serious injury thing.

Steve said...

Sorry, I meant 2-years at $12 mil.

okel dokel said...

I would prefer they not tie up a lot of money in two defensemen. I agree with Burress but Sarge is not worth $5 million a year in my opinion. He looked awful in the playoffs.

I would like to see them sign someone like Zbynek Michalek.

I am getting a lot of news on Hamhuis, since I am in the Philly area, and while he is good he seems to be concerned with being considered one of the top defensemen wherever he lands. Also, because he is a "union man" I believe he will test the market just to say he did.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I think fixing up the defense should be priority #1, scoring winger second.

Remember, it wasn't like we lost a ton of talent on the wings between the Cup year and this past year. Our wingers were mediocre in 09 when we went all the way, and they were the same mediocre wingers in 10 when we lost in the 2nd round.

The difference? No Scuderi and Gill.