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Penguins Looking For A Center

from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“We’re set in terms of defense and [in] goal, and up front we’re pretty good,” said Shero, who last week signed defensemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek to replace Sergei Gonchar and others.

The Penguins had interest in former New Jersey center Rob Niedermayer, but he agreed to a one-year, $1.15 million deal with Buffalo.

“We’re just looking around to see if anybody fits, and we’re keeping Billy Guerin in mind as well,” Shero said of the veteran winger who became a free agent July 1.

With most free-agent wingers the wrong fit, Shero is looking for a center as the team considers shifting Jordan Staal or Evgeni Malkin from center to wing.

Shero said coach Dan Bylsma can use training camp to determine the configuration in that scenario. Staal, who has developed into arguably the top third-line center in the NHL, played some on Malkin’s flank on the second line earlier in his career. Malkin occasionally moves to wing on the top line with center Sidney Crosby.

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Comments

Hank1974's avatar

They need to look at some options such as Patrick O’Sullivan, Paul Kariya, Max Afinogenov, or maybe even a guy like Nigel Dawes.

Sid Crosby made Andy Hilbert a point-per-game winger when he was with the Pens, I can only imagine what he could do with the guys I’ve mentioned.
Kariya might be too expensive, but I bet O’Sullivan and Dawes would come cheap and maybe even a guy like Afinogenov would take a pay cut to play with either Crosby or Malkin.

Posted by Hank1974 on 07/08/10 at 11:44 AM ET

Avatar

Maybe headline should have read , ” Penguins looking for Center .... to play wing”.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/08/10 at 11:45 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Maybe the Pens shouldn’t have payed $9m to Michalek and Martin and they could afford someone…

Posted by Primis on 07/08/10 at 12:57 PM ET

Moq's avatar

The headline is a little misleading, because the exact line configuration isn’t set in stone. Bylsma (and Shero) would probably prefer to continue the “strength down the middle” model rather than move Staal and Malkin around. So their preference would be a winger or flexible center in my opinion. The third line center replacement scheme is the other scenario, and not without merits on its own. Finding someone within the meagre budget is a challenge, which is why it makes sense to see if the threat of unemployment will lower salary demands as the free agency period progresses. Otherwise, they can save cap space for the trade deadline if nothing of interest materializes.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/08/10 at 01:11 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Maybe the Pens shouldn’t have payed $9m to Michalek and Martin and they could afford someone…

UMMM Stick to the team you Know about1 OK chico   zipper

Posted by Evilpens on 07/08/10 at 01:23 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Maybe the Pens shouldn’t have payed $9m to Michalek and Martin and they could afford someone…

That expenditure was inevitable, whether the endresult had been Gonchar plus sidekick or the current M&M combo. The salary would end up in the $8-9M range. We spend $18.6M on defence, which isn’t exceptional leaguewise and quite a bit less than Detroit for example.

Now you’re allowed to pontificate on the overpayment of Crosby and Malkin.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 07/08/10 at 01:38 PM ET

Avatar

I guess they want to bring somone in for comfort just in case Letestu/Talbot/Rupp/Adams couldn’t handle 3rd line duty.  I’m still confused about why they would have to bring someone in from the outside at center and not try to go for one of the available wings that are still there.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 07/08/10 at 02:07 PM ET

Avatar

I still think John Madden is a guy that’s right up Shero’s alley (Cup winner, kills penalties, hits, forechecks well ) and would fit perfectly into the Pens system should they decide to move Staal up.  Obviously, his salary / cap room would be an issue though.

Posted by Geno71 on 07/08/10 at 04:00 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

I think O’Sullivan would be a great pick up if they can work it out.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/08/10 at 05:23 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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