Other than that, there are still few Penguin signings mixed in with much rampant Penguin speculation and it's starting to make fans lose their minds. Larry sent me this in an email at 11:44am on July 2:
I guess so what if they don’t sign anyone. I think they will, but it’s not as if they’re going to take a step backwards. They’re deep enough at wbs to start to bring up guys at least for staal’s 3rd line…meaning don’t make staal a winger just to fill in for malone. Even though he had 29 goals with him his rookie year, he needs to be playing center.
He followed that up at 8:05am on July 3 with:
So now Huselius is off the board. I read Nagy is coming off of a neck injury, but he seems like he could be a good fit. I read in the trib they seem to be going after Naslund. I don’t like that. If not Nagy or Dimitra, maybe Satan. He seems like he would do well on Crosby’s line. Not so much the two-way demon, but he’d be good. I’m thinking Staal should play with Malkin and Sykora. I love having depth at center, but he needs to have more scoring chances.
It's safe to say that minds in Pittsburgh have been fairly boggled. But before you blame Rayjean for losing Hossa, maybe read this. Apparently Hossa called Detroit GM Ken Holland and said he'd do whatever to play for them. Detroit didn't even call Hossa. It's hardly Rayjean's fault Hossa left.
So...the speculation. As of now, the Penguins are rumored to be interested in every single wing still available. We're basically Tampa two days after. It's not even worth discussing each guy we're buzzing about, though if signings are slow today, maybe we'll get into that. I will say that Matt Cooke is absolutely hated by anybody who plays against him, so he could be a good Ruutu replacement. Plus, he's North American, so the referees won't be biased against him like they were with Ruutu.
There is word that we're trying to move Sydor and his $2.5 million salary, so maybe a Crosby wing will come via trade. At least we're not Tampa trying to trade Dan Boyle after he said he wouldn't waive his no trade clause.
9:51am - The Capitals signed Keith Aucoin. If you could come up with a relevant comment for that transaction, you'd be one of the finest scribes in the world.
10:59am - Turns out we gave MAF 7 years, not 6, so it's $5 million a year. A bargain, says I. Beyond that, we finally have some free agency signings, Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko. I'm sure we weren't too impressed by their roles on the Islanders last year since that was one of the worst offenses in the league, so we must have liked their price tags. Though at $3.5 million for Satan and $2.5 for Fedotenko, they aren't that cheap. For just $1 million, I would've taken Huselius over Satan, but that's just me.
Actually, Satan has a decent chance to be this year's Sykora. He had 35 goals two years and his career high is 75 points, so the potential is at least there. If nothing else, he won't score two goals against us every single time we play the Islanders now. He has a good shot and just has to get open so Crosby can find him. On the downside, he's 33 and over the last four seasons has gone -11, -12, -8 and -15. He's probably not going to win the Selke. I was much higher on Sykora last summer than I am on Satan today.
Going even lower, I am positive that Fedotenko is terrible. Satan might become Sykora, but Fedotenko will definitely become Nils Ekman. After holding the line so hard for the first two days, I can't believe Rayjean dropped $2.5 million on a guy who had 33 points last year. And it's not like he just needs to be fertilized with skill in order to bloom. His career best 41 points came in Tampa and Tampa paired with him Lecavalier, St. Louis, Prospal and Richards in multiple attempts to get him going. It never worked.
In three of Fedotenko's seven seasons, he's had more goals than assists. That's good if you're Ovechkin and scoring 60 goals, bad if you're scoring 17 goals. You might say that Fedotenko needs others to create the play for him.
Last summer, the Islanders gave Fedotenko a 1 year deal worth $2.9 million. Their offense was atrocious last year and they made no effort to keep him. Next summer, look for Minnesota to sign Fedotenko for $2.1 million.
I was avoiding getting into speculation, but Fedotenko was one of the names TIOSP was batting around. Had I gotten into speculation, I would've begged us to avoid Ruslan. We didn't get anybody I wanted and we got somebody I wanted to avoid like a stab wound. Good week for me!
Ugh. I just hate signing Fedotenko. I promise you he's not with Pittsburgh in 09-10. At least Nils Ekman set the record for fastest Penguin hat trick before leaving.
11:42am - I'm still avoiding speculation and rumor because it usually goes nowhere, but when asked about trading Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay owner Oren Koules said, "We think [Boyle's] the best puck-moving defenseman in the league."
First off, he's not. Nobody's better than Lidstrom and Gonchar and Niedermayer and some other guys are maybe even better than Boyle. Second off, that statement is exactly how a Hollywood movie producer would deny a pending deal. Compliment you, then cut you. That's how it's done out here.
12:32pm - The summer migration continues as another Penguin has left town. Word is Big Georges Laraque is going to Montreal for 3 years at $1.5 million per. A little less than he made in Pittsburgh, though that was really a Phoenix contract. Laraque is good guy, but Godard is much cheaper and $1.5 million is a lot of money for such a specialized role player. I can't remember the last time Montreal had a real enforcer, though. Guess they want to protect that Kostitsyn investment!
1:51pm - Since they signed two defensemen but then traded two, and came into the summer wanting to add one, the Rangers signed Dmitri Kalinin. They also signed Markus Naslund for $4.5 million and one year. Naslund remarked, "I wanted to be signing with a Cup contender. I think we’ve all seen how tight it is, the race, and it’s very difficult to pick a winner before the playoffs start. I believe that just looking at the history, the Rangers are going in the right direction and I want to be a part of that."
He knows Jagr is probably leaving, right? The Rangers are no Cup contender.
3:21pm - The Sharks are giving Rob Blake $5 million to play for them next year. Kings fans can go back to booing Blake, I guess. Blake will give the Sharks the old, slow defenseman they've been searching for. Also, with Blake and Thornton, the Sharks will finally have the two biggest pairs of hockey pants in the league. Big rumps on those two.
8:22pm - Welp, some stuff has happened, but nothing major. Antti Miettinen went back to Minnesota. Best thing about his career was Buccigross asking Melrose if he was pro or anti Miettinen. (UPDATE: No! That was Antti Laaksonen! What are you, some kind of specialized idiot?!!?) Pens were rumored to be looking at him, but that obviously stalled out.
The Blues signed Yan Stastny. Too bad it wasn't Paul. Or even Peter.
The Coyotes kept two of their RFAs, Matt Jones and Brian McGrattan. I watch a lot of hockey, I live on the West Coast and watch a lot of late games and I couldn't tell you one single thing about Matt Jones. McGrattan and Fedoruk give Phoenix a good heavyweight tag team, though.
So that's probably it for the night. The Canadian teams might try to take advantage of Americans being off for Indepence Day to make a bunch of late signings, but I think we'll just wait until Monday to do a weekend wrap up.
But before we go, TIOSP has Jagr chatter absolutely burning up his bandwidth. Unlike some buckshot rumor sites, say Eklund or Garrioch, TIOSP usually hits the mark. He also has mentioned that Shanahan is interested in Pittsburgh because he has a good relationship with Crosby. How the hell that relationship got off the ground is beyond me. If a 43-year old guy at your office was good friends with a 20-year old it would be bizarre, but I guess it's okay for jocks.
Anyway, some numbers have to be jiggled before Jagr could return to Pittsburgh and start getting speeding tickets on 279 North again. Moving Sydor in a trade would be the first of the jiggling. But we'll see, we'll see. It's basically going to come down to Lemieux persuading Jagr to the point that he takes less money. The way this week has gone, Jagr will end up in Tampa Bay.