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Insider Only Analyzing the Penguins Day 1 Free Agent Additions

Inside Pittsburgh Sports

Forwards

Line 1: Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Line 2: Carl Hagelin – Nick Bonino – Phil Kessel
Line 3: Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Line 4: Tom Kuhnhackl – Eric Fehr – Scott Wilson
Organization Depth
Kevin Porter/Tom Sestito – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney
Teddy Blueger – J.S. Dea – Daniel Sprong (injured)

New Additions/or Resignings from July 1:

*Tom Sestito, 1 Year – $575,000, 2-way Contract

Role/Fit: Pittsburgh’s only forward addition on Friday was the resigning of Tom Sestito. It was an expected move as the organization is a big fan of Sestito who joined the club last training camp on a PTO and eventually signed a contract later in the season. Sestito will likely spend most of his time in Wilkes Barre and be a call up option every once and in a while when the Penguins have injuries or the coaching staff feels the need to add toughness for a game or two.

The forward depth chart remains unchanged so far going into Day 2 of free agency with the Penguins yet to trade a forward to clear cap space.

If Eric Fehr enters training camp with the Penguins, and that’s a big “If” based on talk from league sources, he remains the front-runner to be the team’s 4th line center due to the Penguins desire to have Scott Wilson in the lineup.

A good problem to have, the Penguins have a group of young forwards ready to push for spots over the next year.

“A few years ago, we had a plethora of young defensemen throughout our system. Now, we’re very excited about some of the young forwards we have coming in,” Assistant GM Jason Botterill said. “We talked briefly before about Jake Guentzel and Teddy Blueger, but we’re also very excited about the development of J-S Dea, Josh Archibald, Dominik Simon, who was in the National Hockey League last year, and then signing a guy like Carter Rowney, who has come through our system.


Defensemen

No. 1: Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
No. 2: Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley
No. 3: Derrick Pouliot -Ian Cole
Organization Depth
No. 4: David Warsofsky – Steve Oleksy
No. 5: Stuart Percy – Tim Erixon
No. 6: Cameron Gaunce – Chad Ruhwedel
No. 7: Lukas Bengtsson – Reid McNeill
No. 8: Ethan Prow

New Additions/or Re-signings from July 1:

The Penguins made a number of signings on Friday for depth defenseman to round out the organizational depth chart. Aside from resigning Steve Oleksy, the Penguins added a group of defensemen who all skate well and can move the puck well.


*David Warsofsky, 1 Year – $575,000 (2-way)
– The Penguins brought back Warsofsky who was lost on waivers in March. Appeared in 12 games with the Penguins last season before suffering a concussion. Penguin coaches like the poise and vision Warsofsky brings in the transition game, notably his ability to make quick passes out of his own end. He’s a natural fit as the No. 7 defenseman on the depth chart for the time being.


Steve Oleksy, 1 Year – $575,000 (2-way)
– The 6-foot-0, 190-pound blueliner returns for a second straight season with the organization. Brings a toughness, competitive edge to the table. Slides into the No. 8 spot on the organizational depth chart for now but others will be in position to pass him up in camp.


Stuart Percy, 1 Year – $575,000 (2-way)
– The Penguins signed Percy just minutes into free agency on Friday. Had 24 points and a plus-3 rating in 58 AHL games. Like Tim Erixon, Percy’s another former first round pick who hasn’t panned out. Still the Penguins like the upside factor about Percy as he’s just 23 years old.

“At 23, we feel there’s still room for him to develop,” Assistant GM Jason Botterill said. “We look at players such as Brian Dumoulin, spending three years in the minors, and then finally moving up. It takes some of these defensemen a little bit more time to develop.”

A smooth puck moving defenseman with a good first pass, the Penguins are looking forward to having Sergei Gonchar work with him.

“Percy is a former first-round pick. Our amateur reports were very high on him in that regard. Biggest thing we like about him is his transition game, his first pass,” said Botterill.

Percy certainly tops out as the Penguins most intriguing signing of the day.


*Chad Ruhwedel, 1 Year – $575,000 (2-way)
– Ruhwedel, 26, played the last four seasons with the Sabres organization, tallying 24 goals and 66 assists in 178 career AHL games. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound blueliner has appeared in 33 career NHL games, totaling 2 assists.

The Penguins have liked Ruhwedel for sometime as they scouted him often in college at UMass-Lowell and were interested in signing Ruhwedel as an undrafted free agent four years ago.

Does not play his own end well, why he’s never found a niche as a depth defenseman at the NHL level, but he has some offensive ability. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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