Category Archives: NHL Hockey

Addition through subtraction

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.


2014 NHL Draft: Boooooooo

I spent the weekend at the 2014 NHL Draft, held in the lovely city of Philadelphia. As always, Flyers fans impressed with their ability to boo and taunt literally everything, including dead silence. I even spotted a fan with the Flyers logo tattooed on his head! Dedication!

All jokes aside, Philly put on an excellent show. Though in enemy territory, the new management with the Pittsburgh Penguins proved that they were ready to shake things up. Rutherford and Co, fueled by coffee brought to them by Bill Guerin’s son, selected Finland’s Kasperi Kapanen (LW) 22nd overall.¬†The team also traded away James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spalding.

As always, Penguins fans are expecting the team to physically burn to the ground from these moves, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. This year’s injury to Pascal Dupuis proved that the Pens have little depth at LW, with folks like Chuck Kobasew serving in Dupuis’ place alongside Sidney Crosby. Dupuis is expected to return at the start of the season, but at age 35 can’t be relied on for long term support. Kapanen might be able to fill that void.

Meanwhile, the Neal move sends a headshot-prone winger away for a solid second line forward in Hornqvist. Spalding is a reliable bottom-six guy. Best of all? Spalding and Hornqvist combined cost about as much as Neal alone. Of course, seeing a high scoring player leave the Burgh is always tough, but this move might actually pan out to our benefit.

Pens GM Rutherford expressed that he will likely not be resigning any of the eleven unrestricted free agents on July 1st, however. The Pens will sorely miss Jokinen and Niskanen, who were easily two of their best performers in this year’s playoffs. Orpik, Glass, Goc, Stempniak, and others will be replaceable.

The loss on defense will require the likes of Simon Despres and Brian Dumoulin to step it up this season.