Friday, February 23, 2007

Pens Trade Deadline Preview...

The trade deadline is now only 4 days away and for the first time in many years the Penguins may actually be buyers. Instead of wondering which big name player was going to be subtracted from their roster only to be replaced with the likes of Richard Lintner or Rico Fata they will be waiting anxiously to see what magic Ray Shero has up his sleeve. Will he pull off something close to the deal that brought Ulf, Ronnie and Grant to town along with the Stanley Cup or will he end up with something horrifying like Nasland for Stojanov! We will all know by 3:00pm on Tuesday, but at least we are able to speculate about possible deals that will make the team better instead of tear it apart.

Even during the bad times in Pittsburgh, the trade deadline was one of my favorite times of the hockey season. This year is no different, with that in mind I put together a list of the possible players that could be on their way to Pittsburgh along with cap/contract info and my feeling on whether the deal could happen. I have selected players that have been rumored to Pittsburgh over the past couple weeks...of course I have subtracted Anson Carter, as he has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Here is where the Penguins are roughly situated capwise. The team has spent $27,075,021.00 to this point leaving them with plenty of room under the cap to acquire a player or two.

On to the list (cheapest to most expensive)....

Georges Laraque
Laraque has been rumored to the Pens a couple other times this season but things seem to have heated up. He is widely considered one of the best fighters in the league and has some history with head coach Michel Therrien. The two won a QMJHL title together in Granby. Laraque is the type of player who can skate a regular shift on a third or fourth line and chip in with more than just fists. Laraque has a No Trade Clause and would have to approve any deal. I could see this going down...the 'Yotes shouldn't be asking for too much in return.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$1,100,000.00 $281,715.00 signed $1.3 Mil $1.2 cap hit

Bryan Smolinski
Smoke, who once was a Pittsburgh Penguin, has drawn a lot of attention from around the league. He is a good face-off guy and a leader in the locker room. Smolinski also has a scoring touch and can play the power play. He would most likely bump someone from the Penguins third line upon arrival in Pittsburgh. Would he stunt the growth of Max Talbot? That is debatable. Smoke would be a nice addition, but the Hawks may want more than Ray Shero is willing to pay. I see this one as a low percentage.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$1,520,000.00 $389,277.00 UFA

Curtis Joseph
Cujo is getting a bit long in the tooth, but he still has some gas in the tank. He will probably end up with a contender, but it will not be Pittsburgh. The Penguins would have been in the market for a consistent back up to Marc Andre Fleury, but Jocelyn Thibault has re-emerged as a very viable option, having won his last three starts. Thibault will be the Penguins back up. No deal.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$2,000,000.00 $512,190.00 UFA

Bill Guerin
Bill Guerin's 28 goals and 19 assists would look great on one of the Penguins top two lines, however he has not played very much Left Wing during his career and that is where the Penguins could use him most. They need a proven goal scorer to hop onto Sidney Crosby's line. They individual would play along side the Kid and Mark Recchi. The Blues are believed to be asking for a lot in return. Ray Shero will not sell the farm to acquire what could only be considered a rental for the rest of the season.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$2,000,000.00 $512,190.00 UFA

Eric Brewer
Brewer has great size and carries a cannon of a shot from the point. He would instantly become a top 4 defenseman on the Penguin blue line. It has been said that he could play a more physical game and that he has never fully harnessed his offensive ability. If he would sign a deal to stay in Pittsburgh, this could happen. Though there are plenty of suitors and the price may quickly climb out of the Penguins range.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$2,014,000.00 $515,781.00 UFA

Aaron Miller
Miller is the most likely to come to the Penguins. He is exactly what they need. A big, strong defenseman who is capable of effectively clearing the front of his net. He is not prone to mistakes and is known as a winner wound the league. Miller has ties to USA hockey, as does Penguins GM Ray Shero. Miller could come cheaper than some of the other options, such as Brewer.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$2,280,000.00 $556,100.00 UFA

Nick Boynton
Boynton is a younger more expensive version of Aaron Miller with some additional offensive upside. He could come as part of any deal bringing Laraque to the Penguins, but that is not a given. The bottom line is that he is known to be available, but his price may be too high for the Penguins. The good thing about him is that he is signed for the next two years.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$$2,950,000.00 $755,496.00 signed next 2 seasons @ 2.95 mil

Keith Tkachuk
Tkachuk has always intrigued me, and he was one of the most dominant power forwards in the league at one point in time. He has a huge frame, a great shot and plays with an ill-tempered disposition. He can still put up some numbers and would look great next to Malkin or Crosby. The bottom line is that he is a bit too expensive and the Blues are going to want more than Shero is willing to pay. Stranger things have happened, but of the two power forwards in St. Louis, Guerin is more likely to Pittsburgh and that in and of itself is a long shot.

06-07 salary Remaining Salary 07-08 Status
$3,800,000.00 $973,161.00 UFA

Most Likely Future Penguins: Laraque, Miller, Smolinski
Least Likely Future Penguins: Guerin, Tkachuk, Boynton, Brewer, Joseph

Most Likely Ex Penguins: Noah Welch, Ryan Malone, Dom Moore, Nils Ekman, Josef Melichar

2 Comments:

Blogger Tony said...

Brian,
I'm gonna be moving all of my future posts (including Pirates and Steelers within a few days) over to MVN.com. Could you please change my Pens link to http://mvn.com/nhl-penguins/ and change to the new name of "The Confluence of the Three Rivers" ??
Thanks again...

9:39 PM  
Anonymous PaperMate Pens said...

i think your blog is so great this is a wonderful post!

Cheers,
Lynn

1:52 AM  

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