Penguins' General Manager Ray Shero, or as we affectionately call him GMRS, has taken some heat in recent drafts for stockpiling defensive prospects and thereby bypassing forwards. It's not an inaccurate criticism: It's pretty clear to anyone who takes a look at the Penguins' minor league affiliates. Their strength, without a doubt, is their plethora of defensive prospects.
However, a couple are not just your typical prospects. A couple of these young men, still kids in fact, are quickly developing into bonafide studs on the blue line. So much so that while it's not likely that Shero/Dan Bylsma leadership would keep 19 year-olds Derrick Pouliot nor Olli Maatta on their NHL roster this upcoming season, their play has certainly caused a few established veteran defensemen to start looking in their rearview mirror, and often.
Pouliot and Maatta are included in the group of promising defensive prospects that will inevitably start replacing the Penguins D-corps as we know it.
Tony is away this week, so I am your Pens correspondent.
from the Pittsburgh Penguins,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed forward Chuck Kobasew to a professional tryout contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Kobasew’s addition brings the Penguins’ training camp roster to 55 players (31 forwards; 18 defensemen; 6 goaltenders).
Kobasew, 31, spent the previous two seasons playing for the Colorado Avalanche, totaling 23 points (12G-11A) in 95 regular-season contests. His plus-6 rating in 2012-13 ranked first among all Avalanche forwards.
From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's Dave Molinari:
Matt Niskanen knows the numbers.
More important, he understands what they might mean for his future with the Penguins.
He's aware that the Penguins, who will open training camp next Wednesday, are roughly $1.1 million over the NHL's salary-cap ceiling of $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season.
He also realizes that their projected 23-man roster -- and it's far from certain they'll carry that many -- includes seven defensemen who would have to clear waivers and an eighth, Simon Despres, who is waiver-exempt, but who seems virtually certain to secure steady work in the NHL this winter.
It's no surprise, then, that Niskanen has been a fixture in trade speculation since the Penguins signed free-agent defenseman Rob Scuderi.
I have a confession to make.
We're 11 days from the opening of training camp, and I haven't even remotely started to "get into" the start of hockey season.
Can you blame me? The Pirates are finally at the very least not only going to have a winning season for the first time in 21 years, but have a legitimate shot at earning either a Wild Card or even a Division champtionship. I mean, I have a sophomore in college who's never seen the Bucs go above .500, for cripes sakes.
And yeah, the Steelers are getting ready to start another season, although I would be shocked if they had a winning season. 9-7, at the very best.
So how will the Penguins fare this upcoming season? Like the title says, hell if I know.
But read on, I'll at least throw out some half-assed bullets at ya.
From the Penguins:
Now Official - $3.375M AAV per.
Happy 4th of July to everyone out there. I'll be spending this afternoon hopefully watching Gerrit Cole mow down the Phillies for another win for the team with the best record in baseball, your Pittsburgh Pirates.
What a benchmark week for the Penguins. GM Ray Shero could've taken this club a completely different way. He could've traded multi-talented Kris Letang for a young D-man, top prospect and reacquire that 1st round pick that was traded to Calgary in the Iginla trade. He could have decided that the price for pending UFA Pascal Dupuis was going to be too high and elected to let Duper hit free agency.
Instead, he re-signs Letang for 8 years/$7.25 million per and Dupuis for 4 years/$15 million. He kept that core that is so often talked about together.
That's a good thing.
Well, one thing's for sure: As Capt. Jack Ross eloquently said in A Few Good Men, it's gonna be entertaining.
About The Confluence
Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes. I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
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