Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Agency

As we approach the July 1 feeding frenzy, hockey and the Penguins are in the forefront of the news again. The Jagr watch has gone into a frenzy like few others recently. I have heard everything from he is now looking at money offers that are much larger from Montreal, and others to a deal in principle is in place with the Penguins and everything in between. My instinct is that Jagr will be a Penguin, but he is an unpredictable personality. If some team with a cap floor issue throws huge money around, who knows what JJ will do, but if all offers are similar, I have to believe ending where he started with the next generation of Pens stars, and coming home as a returning hero would have a lot of allure to Jagr. We will know soon enough. I was GLAD to see the Penguins sign Arron Asham, though it seemed to be largely in reaction to the potential loss of Mike Rupp. I loved the Dupuis signing, his PK, flexibility up and down the line up, and decent secondary scoring will prove beneficial as it has in the past. I am hoping that the Penguins get TK signed at 2 years at 2M per year, and that they use the 3 center model as a result. I still hope that they sign Rupp, or at least have a similar big tough winger in mind as a replacement. Though Talbot has been a big part of the Penguins, I am at peace with the notion that it may be time to move on for Mad Max. Would be happy to see a Niskanen move for cap space and a better Dman, but I doubt I will see that. Anyway, the picture will get a little more clear in the next 24 hours! Go Pens!!

Note: Starting to tire of Jagr/Svoboda changing the rules and timeframes. RS needs to set tomorrow at noon deadline or offer withdrawn. Svoboda after two days in a row promising a decision is now talking to more teams, and needing 2 more days. To me, tomorrow by noon, or the Pens move on. This situation is starting to STINK a bit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flyers remade

When I first heard about the Flyers moves yesterday, I thought that they won one, lost one big time, but the room to add Bryzgalov in the nets made them 2 for 3. I thought the Richards move was a bad move for the Flyers, and frankly that made me happy as I thought it weakened one of the biggest annual threats in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins blogosphere is making fun of the Flyers for the moves, but I think they may be wrong to do so. If you look at most recent production, the Flyers gave up Carter who has had 46, 33, and 36 goals in the past three seasons, and Richards who had 30, 31, and 23 but was also considered a Bobby Clarke type player and the heart and soul of the team. In return, they got two young NHL players with upside (Voracek and Simmonds) but whose top production was 16 goals in each case. In the short term, it looks like Philadelphia gave up a lot more than they got back in those deals. But, you have to consider this fact as well. The growth of James Van Riemsdyck and Claude Giroux have given the Flyers the luxury of making a move like this. They still have JVR, Giroux, Briere, Hartnell, Versteeg, and Leino from the core of forwards last year, and have added a top notch goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov with the cap space those moves created. They will not have to put natural centers into winger roles with these moves any more, creating a more balanced attack. Many think that both Simmonds and Vorcek are 20-25 goal scorers in this league, and don't forget that most people think that Brayden Schenn is a TOP prospect in this league. Finally, with a deep draft this year, getting the #8 pick overall is likely to add another young player with upside to this organization. On top of that, they get an extra third round pick this season, and an extra second round pick in 2012. Yes, the Flyers moved their cornerstone centers from the 2003 draft who have combined for between 59 and 76 goals together for the past 3 seasons, but in doing so, they have added big time goaltending, which has been the achilles heel of the team, balance, by not having to have natural centers play wing, and they have created room for younger, more affordable players to blossom further under Laviolette. Finally, the leadership issue is cleared up. It is clearly Prongers team now. As in any trade, you cannot grade it out until a year or two goes by, and this one may be evaluated based on the development of Schenn, and the player the Flyers get with the #8 selection this year, but it is a better move by Holmgren than I originally thought, and man does the Richards move take some sack! The Flyers did lose some firepower in the deal, but the balance and big time goaltending, along with depth potential makes this trade a far better move than many will say. By the way, both Columbus and LA got better based on their needs as well. GO PENS......Note the 8th pick became Sean Couterier, a guy who is touted to be a shutdown center with offensive upside all Jordan Staal........if he can make the team along with Matt Read, this Flyer team is loaded up front, and look for a breakout season from Claude Giroux.  Bold moves that are getting criticized, but I like them.

The next few days should be full of Penguins news as tonight is draft night, and we are only days away from the July 1 free agent deadline. Jaromir Jagr currently dominates Penguins news as he is talking to the Wings, Penguins, and a "mystery" team about a return to the NHL. It appears as if the Penguins have interest, but are being conservative, as they should with the money and term they would consider for a 39 year old winger. I believe that up to 2.5M and one year if it brings Jagr back is a no brainer for the Penguins. He does not necessarily fit the Penguins system of play as well as he does that of the Wings, BUT he clearly would be a huge factor on that thing that happens when you get one extra guy due to the fuck up(s) of a player on the other team....what do they call that thing? Oh yeah, a Power Play! We score so rarely on those I forgot what it was called! Jagr is a tailor made power play monster who would be much more of a threat from the half wall than anybody currently on the roster. That is no small item, as I do believe the Penguins are playing in round two with any sort of power play threat at all this season, and probably would have had the number one seed in the conference with a power play of any repute. Besides the Jagr situation, the Kennedy situation will be a key in determining other moves the Flightless Birds may make. TK is coming off a career year with 21 goals, but is asking for more money and term than the Penguins believe he is worth. On a team with few wingers who can score with regularity, and in a year with few scoring wingers out there, TK has some leverage. On the other hand, as the Flyers showed yesterday, bolder moves can be made to upgrade your roster. I have NO prediction here. The other player(s) that intrigue me the most for the Penguins include Mike Rupp, whose size, grit and willingness to drop the gloves while playing regular minutes make him a must have in my opinion. He is playing tougher with money than the Penguins thought, but I think the Penguins need Rupp in a post Godard era. Finally, I really hope the Penguins can come to terms with Duper. He has fit in on all 4 lines, is a great PK guy, and has flirted with twenty goals each of the past two seasons for the Penguins. A dark horse that I never thought would be there is Talbot who suddenly seems willing to stay for the same kind of money on a longer term, BUT I am not a fan of what he adds to the Penguins that they do not currently possess in spades. I am in the minority, but I like what a healthy Asham brings to the Pens as evidenced in the playoffs, but he seems to be a plan B if not a plan C option for them right now. The cap going up about 5M gives the Pens more options, but before you dance in the streets about that, remember, it does the same for everyone else! Happy Summer, I am on vacation, but I will check in as Penguins news demands until camp opens in September!

Jack Adams Goes to Coach Disco

Readers of this blog know that normally I have no issue covering items that were covered before, and restating opinions. However, it is summer, so I will not rehash the reasons that Bylsma should have won the Jack Adams, I did that prior to the for now I offer this........FUCK YEAH! He deserves it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Penguins Update

The Penguins signed WBS captain Ryan Craig to a one year, two way deal that will pay him $525,000 at the NHL level. Craig is a great character guy on the WBS Pens but is unlikely to make the team out of camp. In other news, with the NHL draft only two weeks away, Kennedy and the Penguins remain pretty far apart. Kennedy's camp is looking for upwards of 2M per year over a multi year deal. The Penguins are in the 1.5 to 1.75 range for any multi-year deal, but are rumored to be willing to consider 2 million to 2.5 million for a one year deal. This would allow them to see how Kennedy fits into a totally healthy lineup, and if he can do anything on the power play. I am starting to like the idea of the 3 center model with Staal flanked by Kennedy and Cooke again, but the price has to be right for the Penguins. Those who want to write Kennedy off should note that the Penguins have only drafted and developed three goal scoring wingers since 1995! That would be 1995 first round pick Alexsei Morozov who scored 20 goals just once in 2001-02, 1999 fourth round pick Ryan Malone, who scored 20 plus goals three times in his four year Penguins career, netting 22 in both 2003-04 and 2005-06, while netting 27 goals in 2007-08, and Kennedy who netted 21 goals just last season. Next player to consider is 32 year 2 way winger Pascal Dupuis who badly wants to remain a Penguin. He is said to be seeking a Matt Cooke like deal of 3 years and 5.4 million dollars, and his agent thinks he can be marketed as the best two way forward in the upcoming free agent market, with the potential for a 2M per year deal. It is said though, that Duper would gladly sign HERE for the same 3 year and 4.2 M deal he signed in 2008. The Penguins are said to be interested in no more than 2 years though. Duper may have to decide how much he likes being a Penguin and living in Pittsburgh as opposed to testing the market for more cash. I like the thoughts of the Penguins signing Duper, but I also like the thought of a two year deal as opposed to three. Mike Rupp is said to be seeking a deal of 3 years at 1 M to 1.2 M per year, and the Penguins have alluded to an offer of the same $850,000 per year for two years. Rupper is said to love Pittsburgh, and he may have to decide if he loves it enough to leave some dollars and one year on the table. I like Pittsburgh to sign him for 950K to 1 M per year for two years. Max Talbot is said to be willing to sign for a 3 year deal similar to the one he has now at 1.05 M per year, but is said to be adamant about the 3 year term.. Pittsburgh has made no contact at all with Talbot's camp and is very unlikely to even consider a three deal if they would make any offer at all. I think it is time for Pittsburgh to move on here, and let a younger player for half the money take the role of Talbot who has done little in the past two years. The Penguins have not talked at all to Asham's camp or to Comrie's camp. I remain a fan of dumping Niskanen's 1.7M salary for one of the younger defensemen to allow for another 1M in cap space for a scoring winger. Time will tell.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The offseason activity is heating up. First, this week the Penguins offered extensions to their assistant coaches, locking up Granato and Reirden. The same extensions were offered to their WBS coaching staff. They also signed forward Nick Johnson to a one year, two way contract for $550,000 per year. Next they signed 34 year old penalty kill specialist Craig Adams to a two year deal worth $675,000 per year. I like the move as Adams is a character guy, who is a key element to the Penguins league leading PK unit. It is a $125,000 per year raise over his past deal, but it I think it works well for the Penguins. It would appear as if their next priority, Mike Rupp is looking for a raise over his $850,000 per year contract, seeking a million dollars per year. I think that the combination of the Penguins needing the services of a large rugged forward like Rupp and his desire to be in Pittsburgh will make it easy for them to bridge that relatively small gap in the near future. I understand that there is still a siginificant gap between the desires of the Kennedy camp, and what the Penguins are willing to offer the RFA to stay in Pittsburgh. Some say that he felt disrespected coming out of training camp as the odd man out. Tyler, grow up kid. You had a disappointing 2010 regular season, and a HORRENDOUS 2010 post season. In fact, until after New Years, the 2010-11 season was not much better. You finished STRONG, but get real kid. My gut tells me that the Penguins will move on here. Not much being said on Dupuis or Asham at all, and there have been no talks with the Talbot camp at this point. The only one of three I think has a real good shot at being a Penguin is Dupuis. Finally, the Penguins officially signed Big Bad Billy G as Director of Player Development, with the responsibility of working with young prospects up and down the organization. In other news, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired the rights to negotiate with Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov in return for a 3rd round pick. He would be a significant upgrade between the pipes for the Flyers as he is a legitimate franchise type goalie, but he will likely cost in the area of 6M per year, so the Flyers will need to deal one of their better forwards in order to make room for him. It would not be a surprise to see either Hartnell or Carter become available. The Rangers have bought out the ugly contract of Chris Drury, presumably to make a run at acquiring Brad Richards. They are rumored to be thinking of also buying out the contract of Wojtek Wolski to give them the room to make other upgrades. Finally, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Bruins dismantle the Canucks by a combined 12-1 the past two games. Burrows, Torres, Lapierre, and the Sedin bitches........what's to like there?