The PIttsburgh Penguins went in to Free Agent Frenzy with eleven UFAs, and so far none of them have been resigned.
Which is probably a good thing.
Various NHL teams have offered some tragically laughable contracts for former Penguins. Joe Vitale, who had 14 points in 53 games this past season, was given a 3 year deal from the Arizona Coyotes with an AAV of $1.117 million. That’s a little under $80,000 per point. Wow.
Later, the New York Rangers acquired fourth liner Tanner Glass, who also had an underwhelming last season with just 13 points in 67 games, to a three-year, $4.53 million deal.
But the ugliest contract given to a former Penguin award would have to go to the division rival Washington Capitals. Defenseman Brooks Orpik had an often unpredictable season after he was concussed and attacked by Bruins’ Shawn Thornton. Most games, he was just downright awful. Naturally, the Capitals awarded him with a five year, $27.5 million contract. Orpik will be 38 years old when the deal is finished.
So, yeah, the Penguins may have dodged a bullet or three there.
In the meantime, Rutherford made some key acquisitions. He added a fourth-line right winger in Blake Comeau (1 yr, 700k AAV). The team gets all the more German with goalie Thomas Griess (1 yr, 1mil AAV) and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (1 yr, 4mil AAV). Griess will serve as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. Considering that Jeff Zatkoff was not supposed to be our backup this past season, Griess is a great move. He will allow Zatkoff more time to develop in Wilkes-Barre. Ehrhoff adds depth and experience to the defense, which will need more bodies after losing Orpik and Niskanen. He’ll likely serve on the power play unit as well. Ehrhoff’s leadership will be valuable as Derrick Pouliot and Simon Despres move up to the show.
Former Penguin Jussi Jokinen signed in Florida with former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. And now, we wait to see where Matty “$$$” Niskanen will receive his payout.