Before I dig deep into the free agent situation for the Penguins in an upcoming post, I want to address an article written by the ever popular, ever infamous Pittsburgh Tribune writer Rob Rossi.
Rossi decided to delve into his own evaluation of what GM Ray Shero needs to do this off-season in order to make another Cup run. According to Rossi the Penguins are not only in heavy salary trouble but are also a "one-and-done title team" as a result. Due to the fact that the payroll is mainly taken up by Crosby, Malkin, and Staal, Rossi thinks Shero must take action to move one of them in order to salvage some cap space for different personnel.
Rossi's logic is clearly flawed on this. He states that with the big three up the middle the Penguins will never win another Cup. The only way they will win again is if Malkin is moved for a couple of top 6 wingers.
Evidentally Rossi has completely forgot who sat on the wings of Sid and Geno during the '09 Cup run; Kunitz, Geurin, Fedotenko, and Talbot. None of them are spectacular wingers in their own rite aside from Geurin. But he's clearly past his heyday and will either retire or sign a year contract fairly cheap. Talbot and Kunitz aren't going anywhere, and Fedotenko will likely be replaced. Clearly the big three have have the ability to do what they do with what they got; they just need another couple pieces in place. (see the newbies below)
Bottom line is you don't trade Malkin just because we didn't win a Cup. You do know that the Penguins can't win the Cup every year, don't you? Aaaaaaaaaalrighty then.
While I get the gist of what he's saying, I think Shero owes it to Gonch to at least make a valiant effort in trying to resign him. He's such an important part of the powerplay and his leadership on and off the ice is invaluable; he wore the "A" most of the season. Gonch as a few good years left and could offer the Penguins some great assistance as they continue on the road to the Cup next year. The Pens absolutely NEED to get some defensive defenseman on the blue line (i.e. Volchenkov), but so way to you not at the very least try and work something out with 55.
I have to say that I agree with Rossi here, but to a point. All of the above mentioned players are NHL ready in my opinion. But if the Penguins decide not to sign Poni, Feds, and Guerin, there's $6.2MM in salary you can reuse. If you call up Tangradi and Letestu permanently, while signing Cooke keeping the 3rd line in tact, you have some good space available to get maybe one, possibly two quality wingers.
I'll have more to talk about when I evaluate the Free Agent Market and what the Pens should consider doing. But for now I had to address Rossi's upside down article given the amount of attention he commands being part of the Pittsburgh media.