Two days into free agency and Bill Guerin’s future with the Penguins remains unclear. Team contacts indicate Guerin remains an option but the Penguins are exploring all of their options, including the trade market.
There appears to be mixed opinions inside the organization on whether to bring Guerin back. As of this evening, word out of Guerin’s camp is that they believe Pittsburgh may be leaning towards going in another direction.
If the Penguins do indeed go in another direction, replacing Guerin’s production from within will be difficult. The veteran winger scored 21 goals-24 assists for 45 points last season. Throw in Sergei Gonchar’s 50 points and the Penguins could be losing 95 points of production.
On the free agent market, it remains to be seen if there is a fit out there due to the Penguins limited cap space.
The Penguins spoke with Rick Curran the agent for Alexei Ponikarovsky today. Although the market has been bleak for Ponikarovsky and neither side has closed the door on a return, it would be shocking if the two sides would be able to work something out that worked for both sides.
On a side note, we can confirm through two days of free agency, the team has had zero discussions with Don Meehan the agent for Maxim Afinogenov.
The same goes for any contact with Don Baizley, the agent for Paul Kariya.
Finding a winger whether it’s Guerin or someone else likely won’t happen before the holiday weekend. As of this evening, the Penguins were not close on any front.
The Penguins are exploring the trade market and will continue to do so. Specific targets are unknown at this point.
Penguins sign depth forward Ryan Craig
The Pittsburgh Penguins today signed forward Ryan Craig to a one-year contract.
The deal is for the 2010-11 season and is a two-way contract that will pay Craig $500,000 at the NHL level.
Craig, 28, has played the last five seasons with the Tampa Bay organization after the Lightning selected him in the eighth round (255th overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. In 184 career games, Craig has totaled 32 goals, 31 assists and 63 points. He’s also appeared in 11 postseason contests with Tampa Bay.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound forward spent the majority of the 2009-10 season with Tampa Bay’s top minor-league affiliate Norfolk in the American Hockey League. In 73 games for the Admirals, Craig recorded 45 points on 23 goals and 22 assists.
The Abbotsford, British Columbia native played five seasons with Brandon of the Western Hockey League. Craig scored 137 goals, 131 assists and 268 points in 302 games. He added 37 points (19G-18A) in 47 playoff games for the Wheat Kings.