Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Day 1 Wrapup: Can soon-to-be 37 year old winger Sullivan have an impact over 82 games?

Pens add soon-to-be 37 year old Steve Sullivan for help on wing
The Pittsburgh Penguins struck out in the Jaromir Jagr sweepstakes and were not players for any of the top free agent wingers on the market or even the group of midtier wingers who were getting paid handsomely.
“This is not the market to be signing players, ” Shero said during today’s press conference. “We’ll regroup with the coaches, staff and go from there.”
Due to limited cap space, the Penguins went for a veteran on the downside of his career, signing 36 year old winger Steve Sullivan to a 1 year deal worth $1.5 million.
Sullivan is a risky player who the Penguins hope comes with a high reward.
Sullivan, 36, has spent the past five seasons with the Nashville Predators.The veteran forward appeared in 44 games this past season for Nashville, collecting 10 goals, 12 assists and 22 points. He added three points (2G-1A) in nine postseason contests.
Sullivan, a Timmins, ON native, has appeared in 890 career contests with the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and Predators, amassing 266 goals, 416 assists and 682 points. Sullivan has added 17 points (7G-10A) in 44 postseason games.
The Penguins are getting a winger that brings skill to the table, a right handed shot on the power play and is regarded as a strong locker room guy.
However, Sullivan will be 37 years old on July 6 and has been battling groin and back issues for almost four years now.

The 5-foot-9, 161-pound forward, Sullivan missed the entire 2007-08 season due to a severe back injury, before returning on Jan. 10, 2009. Sullivan finished that season by recording 32 points (11G-21A) in 41 games and winning the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The bigger concern for the Penguins might be the groin issues. He appeared in just 44 games last season and has appeared in 44 games or less in two of his last three seasons.
Being on the wrongside of 30, struggles to stay healthy may not go away.
The Penguins believe the skill set and speed is still there but the big questionmark is whether Sullivan can make an impact over the course of an 82 game schedule.
Shero tried to downplay it.
The back is fine, ” Shero said. “That’s never been an issue over the last few years. This year he had a sports hernia which happens quite a bit to players. In the playoffs, he had an MCL strain which knocked him out for the rest of the playoffs. But, other than that he’s healthy. When you sign guys on July 1, there is lots of risk.”
Shero said that the team is still exploring some options on the market and mentioned that he’s happy he addressed his blueline last summer, based on the deals teams have given up this off-season.
Where they are believed to still be looking to add is in the grit and toughness department, however, Shero said he’s happy with his grit.
“I think we’re a team that has a lot of grit, ” Shero said. “With some of the guys we still have up front and bringing back {Arron} Asham, I like our grit.”
Mike Rupp who rejected a two year offer from the Penguins on Wednesday, signed a three year deal worth $4.5 million with the New York Rangers. He got his $1.5 million per season he was looking for.
Max Talbot signed with the Penguins hate rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, agreeing to a 5 year deal worth $1.9 million.
“It’s a great team and that was definitely a big part of my decision, ” Talbot said during a conference call. I wanted to go to a team that had a chance to win a championship this year and more than one, because you look at the youth and the moves they made lately with the new goalie and everything. I’m really excited to join the Flyers.”
The Penguins just before the clock struck noon today, officially resigned Tyler Kennedy to a 2 year deal worth $4 million.
Kennedy’s contract will run through the 2012-13 season and has an average annual value of $2 million.
Kennedy, 24, is coming off the best season of his four-year career after establishing single-season highs across the board in games played (80), goals (21), assists (24), points (45) and power-play goals (7). In seven postseason games, Kennedy added two goals and one assist.
A Sault Ste. Marie, ON native, Kennedy was a valuable member of the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup championship squad, contributing five goals, four assists and nine points in 24 postseason contests. Three of Kennedy’s goals that spring were game-winning tallies – including Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit.
The 5-foot-11, 183-pound Kennedy has appeared in 266 career regular-season games for Pittsburgh, registering 59 goals, 65 assists, 124 points and 13 game-winning goals. Kennedy has collected 16 points (7G-9A) in 61 postseason games.
The Penguins went about $500,000 more than they really wanted to and Kennedy will be met with high expectations next season.
The coaching staff believes Kennedy can become a regular 20 goal scorer.
The Penguins have approximately $61.291 million committed for next season.
The big news of the day was the Penguins missing out on Jaromir Jagr.
The Penguins had a 1 year – $2 million a year offer on the table to Jagr but gave Jagr an 11:00 a.m. deadline to accept the offer.
I think it’s pretty much documented that we made an offer to him on Tuesday within the parameters of our salary cap, and always with the idea of bringing back Tyler Kennedy as well, ” Shero said.
“If those two things would have happened, that would have been great. But over the last few days and as of last night for me, it didn’t really feel right. To come back to the Penguins seemed like a tap-in for me. But I respect his decision, ” Shero said.
“This morning when I talked to the agent, I said I needed an answer at the beginning of free agency. So I gave him a deadline of 11:00 a.m.. That deadline came and went. We withdrew our offer and moved onto other things.
Shero said today he didn’t want to get into a bidding war.
Jagr signed a one year deal worth $3.3 million with the Philadelphia Flyers to the devastation of many Penguin fans.
His agent claims he had one offer upwards of $6 million per season from an NHL team.
Shero said during his presser that Jagr going to Philadelphia doesn’t change his place in history with the Penguins. “It doesn’t change his place in our history here, ” Shero said. “He’s won two Stanley Cups with us and is obviously a great player. I don’t have any feelings on it because I don’t know him. We wish him the best.”

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

Comments Disabled

Comments have been disabled for this post.