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Pittsburgh, the logical choice for Parise and Suter?

If Pittsburgh wasn’t already doing a hard sell on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s agents, Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika just penned one for ‘em, imagining what Cotsonika called a dynasty-in-the-making team truly evolving into just that with this summer’s marquee free agents choosing what he seems to believe is the only logical place for either to play:

If you’re Zach Parise or Ryan Suter, is there anywhere you’d rather play than Pittsburgh? The Penguins can take a run at the top two UFAs on the market, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. (Getty)Let’s see. You could be paid well. If you’re Parise, you could be the long-awaited winger for Sidney Crosby, who just so happens to be your buddy. If you’re Suter, you could bolster the defense of a talented team that includes Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury. In either case, you could work for good-guy coach Dan Bylsma. You could have a great chance to win the Stanley Cup year in and year out.

Oh, and you could do it all in a U.S. market where hockey matters but doesn’t matter too much – important for low-key American stars like Parise, from Minnesota, and Suter, from Wisconsin.

Parise and Suter didn’t seem like realistic options for Pittsburgh a couple of days ago. But now that general manager Ray Shero has cleared salary-cap space by swinging deals at the NHL draft at Consol Energy Center, the Penguins can make a push for at least one of the top unrestricted free agents July 1. Especially if Shero can clear some more space – by, say, moving defenseman Paul Martin and his $5 million hit – they might even be able to make a push for both.

But what about other teams, like Detroit or Minnesota?

Both could go to Detroit or Minnesota. The Red Wings have the cap space to make a splash, and their savvy management has been able to reload for years without high draft picks. They especially need Suter after the departures of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. The Wild has cap space and Midwestern allure. Minneapolis is Parise’s hometown team and close to Suter’s home state. But some of the Wings’ key pieces are older. How long can they defy gravity? And is the Wild close enough to winning? Does anyone know if the Wild can win long-term?

Both should have other options. Parise could go to, say, Los Angeles. The Kings have cap space and a hole at left wing. They just beat the Devils to win the Cup, and they have a young core. The beach ain’t bad, either. But is he a West Coast guy? Suter could go to, say, Chicago, if the Blackhawks can clear cap space by trading Niklas Hjalmarsson and his $3.5 million hit.

No doubt others will be in the mix, or will want to be, and Pittsburgh isn’t necessarily perfect. Some teams might be willing to pay more money or do a front-loaded deal – perhaps especially Detroit, with owner Mike Ilitch aggressively trying to keep the Wings among the elite. Parise or Suter – or both – might have to take less to fit into the Penguins’ salary structure, and the Pens won’t do front-loaded deals, even with a potential lockout looming.

He goes on at some length, and it’s written like a love letter.

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Comments

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there should be no new articles that are purely speculation. so many are coming out saying that they will go to this team or that- while neither parise or suter have given any real indication. until one of them speaks, please let this be the last BS article written by some beat writer trying to get their fan base all hott and bothered.
LETS GO WINGS!

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 06/23/12 at 09:42 PM ET

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please let this be the last BS article written by some beat writer trying to get their fan base all hott and bothered.

which fan base all hott and bothered?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 06/23/12 at 09:44 PM ET

torless's avatar

You could have a great chance to win the Stanley Cup year in and year out.

Except… They aren’t winning shit again with Fleury in net.

Posted by torless on 06/23/12 at 09:45 PM ET

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Yeah.  Fleury will never be a Cup winning goalie.  I mean, the D played so incredible in the playoffs for him.  That was a team meltdown and everyone, Fleury included, had a complete and utter meltdown.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 06/23/12 at 09:48 PM ET

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im sure pens fans after reading this article, and minnesota fans after articles about the two UFAs, and honestly, me when i read about them comin to the D. at this point its all a big guessing game, so why do people try to make people believe its anything more?

Posted by letsmakeit12 on 06/23/12 at 09:48 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

But some of the Wings’ key pieces are older. How long can they defy gravity?

I love how the Yahoo “writers” never let the facts get in the way of over-hyped speculation. Maybe that’s where the term “yahoos” came from.

The reality is no “key” piece of the Wings roster is older than 33 (Datsyuk and Cleary). And, based on the rosters at each team’s Web site, the average age of the Wings is younger than that of the Pens at every position.

The Pens…
Forwards: 29.85
Defense: 28.33
Goal: 31.00
Total: 29.52

The Wings…
Forwards: 28.46
Defense: 26.33
Goal: 30.00
Total: 28.14

But the bottom line is this. For both Suter and Parise to end up in Pitt, the Pens have to dump an albatros of a salary. The Wings, on the other hand, can sign both and still have money left over without moving anyone.

But those are just facts. They’re not nearly as much fun as the wishful thinking of some yahoo.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/23/12 at 09:53 PM ET

Tony's avatar

OTC,
    To be fair, you’re including players such as Asham (34), Sullivan (37). Park (36) and Johnson (35).  Very good possibility that none of those four will be back.  That would drive the Pens’ average age quite lower.

    Also, GMRS will be actively trying to dump the salary of D-man Paul Martin, just like he did with with Michalek.  If he does that, I think the chances of signing both of them increases.  As it is, I would wager it’ll be one or the other.

    I still think Suter goes to the Wings, by the way.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 06/23/12 at 10:05 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Sorry I was away, 20 minute drive, there, 20 minute drive back.  While ‘there’, I had to toilet-paper Cotsonika’s home.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/23/12 at 10:08 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Pens only have to move Martin to sign both and there has been interest in him, Worse case they can bury him in the minors not exactly difficult.

Also, (Key pieces) is the chosen words, total average ages of the teams is not what is being spoken about.

The wings best players are much older than the pens, by a long way.

The Pens key long term won’t be moved guys are Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Fleury, Letang with an average age of 25.

The Wings key guys are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, franzen, kronwall, howard average age of 31 that’s a big difference bub.

You can spin the numbers and add in guys they won’t be around long term on both teams but when they talk about key players which every is comparing in their articles, they mean ones that will be around for a long time and are reason free agents go to teams to play with.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:10 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

To be fair, you’re including players such as Asham (34), Sullivan (37). Park (36) and Johnson (35).  Very good possibility that none of those four will be back.  That would drive the Pens’ average age quite lower.

Okay, Tony. I was just going by the roster on the Pens site. If you have more accurate figures, I’d love to see them.

Also, GMRS will be actively trying to dump the salary of D-man Paul Martin…

And I’m sure there is a long line of GMs outside his door right now just chomping at the bit to get their hands on a 27-point D-man making $5,500,000. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/23/12 at 10:14 PM ET

Tony's avatar

I know, it’s semantics, just sayin’ those older guys will be gone…

And according to GMRS, he is getting calls on Martin.  I’d trade him for a bag of pucks to get rid of him.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 06/23/12 at 10:18 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

And to be fair…

I adore Cotsonika, and he wrote a great “story.” On paper, hell yes, Pittsburgh sounds like a smart destination, but players decide based upon what they want for themselves, and while the Miami Heat’s title and Malkin’s MVP win has Cotsonika thinking dynasty in Pittsburgh, neither he nor you nor I can make up Suter, Parise or anyone else’s minds up for them.

What might sound “logical” to you or me might not sound the same to free agents, and it’s up to the players and their agents to avail themselves of what they feel are their best options…

And what I’m interested in is how the NHL might take into account teams front-loading deals and offering signing bonuses that would be paid regardless of whether hockey is being played in October, and whether the league will allow such contracts to stand. The teams that can get away with the most front-loading and signing bonus-dishing might be the ones who land the cream of the free agent crop.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/23/12 at 10:20 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The Pens key long term won’t be moved guys are Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Fleury, Letang with an average age of 25.

And all of them but Neal will be UFAs within two seasons, bub. Signing Suter and Parise to the kind of contract the Wings can offer absolutely guarantees that at least two of your “keys” won’t be there in three years.

It’s nice to have “key” players who are young, but that costs money these days – lots of money. That’s a problem the Wings management has kept in mind as they’ve built their team.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/23/12 at 10:21 PM ET

awould's avatar

I think if you somehow add Suter/Parise to both teams at the same time, Detroit would win that series. Pittsburgh relied a lot on that 3rd line and it left town with Staal. Also, Fleury is a shell of the guy who beat Detroit in Game 7.

Posted by awould on 06/23/12 at 10:33 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

OTC planning? lol You mean you got lucky to sign your old guys to retirement deals. Paying them long term when they are going to be way past their primes just to keep the salary cap hit low. Pens have a little more integrity than that. Shero refuses to front load deals or sign retirement deals. Hopefully the new CBA will stop those kind of deals. Also, Crosby and Malkin are already taking less than they could have and sounds like they will repeat that in their new contracts. So really the only guy at threat of being lost might be Letang. As Neal and Fleury and locked up long term.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:37 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Awould, I would agree our 3rd line got weaker with the lose of Staal, but Sutter is still one of the better 3rd line centers in the game, so the drop off isn’t that big. It just takes the 3rd line back to the pack instead of leading the league.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:40 PM ET

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You mean you got lucky to sign your old guys to retirement deals.

Explain how it was lucky that these guys were treated so well and loved being in Detroit so much that they want to stay in Detroit for their entire careers and accepted less money than they would’ve gotten on the open market to do so, please.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/12 at 10:44 PM ET

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Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 08:40 PM ET

Well hey, at least you’re not way overestimating anyone on your team.

Posted by Garth on 06/23/12 at 10:45 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

They took retirement deals which anyone outside of the teams that have done that, find them distasteful. Or have you forgotten the league tried and failed to get those kind of deals invalidated in the early goings of the new CBA. Props to the wings for doing it but as a fan i’d wouldn’t want to be having a 40 year old getting paid big money when he doesn’t deserve it. These retirement deals are short sighted and for the now. I hope the new CBA doesn’t allow teams to bury bad deals in the minors or allow them to sit out on LTIR until the deal runs out. Which I suspect will be the case in these and other deals ala Pronger and Hatcher and Rathji in Philly.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

i’d wouldn’t want to be having a 40 year old getting paid big money when he doesn’t deserve it.

He doesn’t get paid big money. He gets paid less money.  That’s how the average salary cap hit gets lowered.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 10:53 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Still counts against the cap bub even if it’s not real money out of their bank account. You guys are going to have guys taking up a lot of cap space when they shouldn’t be, but like others I’m sure you’ll throw them on LTIR and let it run out so you can get out of the bind. Like I said hope the new CBA changes that and all the teams that did that get egg on their face down the road. Make it retroactive and not grandfather it and the wings flyers and to a lesser extent hawks will feel the pinch.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Make it retroactive and not grandfather it and the wings flyers and to a lesser extent hawks will feel the pinch.

Right, because rigging a draft lottery isn’t good enough for you. You also need the league to punish your competitors for doing things differently.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 11:06 PM ET

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Pens fans, question…

I have looked at cap geek but am not very familiar with your guys situation. You guys can afford to sign Suter and Parise to big contracts, resign Malkin and Crosby at their huge numbers, and still field a team? Or is signing both of them something that can only happen if they were to take below market value to come there?

Posted by A II R from Los Angeles on 06/23/12 at 11:08 PM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

There is no doubt the wings can offer more. The pens have 14 ish in cap space if they move martin that makes 19 in cap space, crosby is looking for a 14 year 9 per deal, so that’s a raise of 300,000 ish Malkin will not earn more than crosby so both will combine for maybe a increase of maybe 2-3 between them. So that leaves 16 million to sign suter and parise. So say we sign them for 7 per each which i doubt suter will cost that much but you never know, that leaves 2 million to raise letang up to close to 6 per. So yes we have the space to sign both, but we have to move martin and have to expect them to take a little less to come here.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 11:22 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So say we sign them for 7 per each which i doubt suter will cost that much but you never know, that leaves 2 million to raise letang up to close to 6 per. So yes we have the space to sign both, but we have to move martin and have to expect them to take a little less to come here.

That also leaves the Penguins with 5 defensemen, only 12 forwards, and a total of a 19-man roster.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/23/12 at 11:30 PM ET

John's avatar

Yeah, I don’t see the Pens signing both.  I live in Pittsburgh and follow them pretty closely and Crosby needs a winger so I bet they make a run at Parise.  But the Pens have always had a really good defensive corp, even though they have a no-name defense.  Bylsma gets the most out of the d-men.  And Fleury is a Stanley Cup caliber goaltender, as evidenced by the fact that he won a Stanley cup and took his team to the finals.  You don’t do that by accident. 

So if I am Shero, I am looking at Parise over Suter.  I think the Staal move was clearly to make room for another free agent.  As Oz says above, the Pens already pay Crosby and Malkin a boatload of money, so they don’t need to “make more room” to sign them. There is no other reason that I can see.

Posted by John from Pittsburgh, PA (Wings fan for life!) on 06/23/12 at 11:45 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

So really the only guy at threat of being lost might be Letang. As Neal and Fleury and locked up long term.

Actually, MAF is only signed for three more years. These days, that’s not considered “long term.”

And your whole projection is based on the premise that no one else will ever get a raise during the term of Suter’s and Parise’s contracts – at least not for an amount that can’t be covered by any increase in the Cap. So, good luck with a team of six or seven “stars” and 15 or 16 low-level guys. I’m sure that’ll work out real well for you, bub.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/24/12 at 12:02 AM ET

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Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 08:49 PM ET

I believe I asked for an explanation of what was “lucky” about the Wings’ career deals.

Nothing you brought up has anything to do with why the Wings were lucky to do it.  Ken Holland wasn’t lucky to have a good idea that Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen were wiling to accept.  It wasn’t luck because the Red Wings nurtured these players and made them want to stay in Detroit for the entirety of their respective careers.

When you want to keep a player around for his entire career and he also wants to play for your organization for his entire career, that’s not luck.

Posted by Garth on 06/24/12 at 12:05 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Lucky the NHL failed in vetoing those kind of deals.

Also OTC anyone else on the team who are worth anything already are getting paid anyone else are highly replaceable.

Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Orpik, Neal, Kunitz, all signed and making roughly what they will continue to make, Letang is the only core irreplaceable guy who will get a significant raise. Anyone else on the team are bread and butter guys who can be replaced in FA or through the draft thus contracts will remain low. You should know that more than most the Wings have made a legacy of surrounding their stars with parts that are replaceable, guy moves on they have another mucker and grinder to replace him for the same money or less.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:16 AM ET

awould's avatar

This…. They took retirement deals which anyone outside of the teams that have done that, find them distasteful.

Then this…crosby is looking for a 14 year 9 per deal

Not a retirement deal bub? Way to be consistent, mate.

Posted by awould on 06/24/12 at 12:16 AM ET

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I don’t know about Suter, but if Parise’s mom and dad are taking Sid to playoff games, I’d say ZP’s mind is basically made up.

Posted by larry from pitt on 06/24/12 at 12:19 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

He did request that, so far the pens haven’t buckled. Also signing him until he’s 38 is a long way from Zetterberg being signed until he’s 42 Franzen until he’s 41 when they are already on the back 9 of their careers. Crosby is in his prime (mush head aside) so his deal will be mostly during his peak years. But again I hope they sign him for 8-10 max. So when he’s 33-35 we can negotiate his wages in tune with his abilities at that stage. What he wants and what he gets are two different things.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:28 AM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by larry from pitt on 06/23/12 at 10:19 PM ET

That could be. I don’t see Pitt signing both. If both sign somewhere, I’m thinking it’s Detroit. But if Parise goes to Pitt and Suter to Detroit, that would make two very good teams.

Would Pittsburgh sign Semin? I think Detroit will if they don’t land Parise.

Posted by awould on 06/24/12 at 12:29 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Larry where did you hear that? I didn’t know he went to games with Zach’s parents.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:30 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Zetterberg being signed until he’s 42 Franzen until he’s 41

Both contracts go to 40.  Stop making up numbers.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/24/12 at 12:32 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

If the Pens sign Semin I’ll become a Jackets fan. That guy is a waste of hockey talent. Brain of an infantile, heart of a worm.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:36 AM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/23/12 at 10:28 PM ET

mathletes and factmongers will tell you that both zetterberg and franzen will be 40 when their contract ends while crosby will be 39. so your theory lost most of its foundation.

as for when each player is signed, on the downside or backend or frontside, how is that even relevant? if anything, the longer the contract, the more suspicious it is in terms of cap hit versus reality when it’s all said and done.

as for his mushy head, that would just make a 14 year deal look even worse.

Posted by awould on 06/24/12 at 12:37 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

JJ you are correct I must have been thinking of them being 33, but that’s Dats, but still 40 years old is too old, how many guys play to that age at a top level? Not many and usually the ones that do are dmen. Baring a few guys like Roberts and Stevie Y who were more morphed into grinding guys, Zetts and Franzen are far from them and skill set doesn’t translate to being the 40 year old Roberts type.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:40 AM ET

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Boy Detroit fans are really being touchy over Parise and Surer. I’m a Penguins fan and am not getting my hopes up on landing either. But if the red wings plan for.success is.free agents your organization is in trouble.  I don’t see why Parise or Surer would want to go to Detroit. Penguins Defense is stronger than Detroit’s at this point

Posted by tbassett on 06/24/12 at 12:42 AM ET

Oz_Santwyk's avatar

Again I’m against the idea of signing Crosby to a retirement deal. So my theory still stands. And I admit I made a mistake on the ages, but again 40 is not a realistic age for Zetts and Franzen to be still worth the money they will be costing against the cap. And I would predict neither would crosby if he signs a long deal like that. Big difference again is Crosby still hasn’t signed so it’s speculation, facts are Zetts and Franzen are tied up.

Posted by Oz_Santwyk from Perth Australia on 06/24/12 at 12:44 AM 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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