Will the Penguins make a big splash when free agency begins? Most likely not but they are expected to add a defensive defenseman, backup goaltender and a possibly a top 6 forward at a reasonable price. The Penguins budget for spending in free agency will be 6-8 million to fill 3 spots whether through FA or trades. I’ve been told 8 million might be a bit higher than they are expected to spend. The spots that will be filled are for a defensive defenseman, top 6 forward and backup goalie. It appears their first priority is to sign or trade for a defensive defenseman. Their projected budget for spending on free agent defenseman appears to be around 2-3 million per season. On offense they’ll look at players they can sign for a 2-3 million price tag although i talked to a pretty good source a hour ago who said he knows for certain if they could get Paul Kariya at 3.5 and even 4 million per season they will get the ok from ownership. For the backup goalie situation they will go cheap. There are lots of candidates out their who could be signed for under a million bucks.
Now a inside look at potential targets:
4 million +
1. Scott Hannan: San Jose Sharks Think Chris Phillips. Hannan is rock solid defensive defenseman but will be overpaid by someone. The Penguins are a longshot but are expected to still place a call.
Potential suitors: COl, SJ, NYI, MTL, Pit?
3 million – 2.5 million
1. Danny Markov – Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings first priorities are resigning Todd Bertuzzi and Matthew Schnedier but if Schnedier doesn’t return, word is Markov will resign in Detroit. He is near the top of the Penguins wishlist.
Potential Suitors: Det, Chicago, Pit
2. Andy Sutton – Atlanta Thrashers: Big defenseman who is drawling considerble interest around the league. The Penguins have been mentioned by the national media but the Penguins are not that interested.
3. Cory Sarich – Tampa Bay Lightning: Sarich name has not been linked to the Penguins but there has to be interest. Whats most appealing about Sarich is he knows how to play with star players such as Marty St.louis and Vinny Lecaiver
4. Vitaly Vishnevski Nashville: Ray Shero’s connection with Nashville has also linked the Penguins to Nashville players.
2 million below
1. Aaron Miller, LA Kings
2. Shane Hnidy, Atlanta Thrashers
4 million +
1. Paul Kariya, Nashville Predators: Kariya is on the wishlist of many Penguin fans but unless he will sign for at the max 4 million Kariya is a longshot. The Penguins are interested as is Kariya according to reports in Canada
Potential Suitors: Vancouver, Toronto, Anaheim, Pit, San Jose
3 million +
1. Bill Guerin, San Jose Sharks: Guerin had a solid year notching 37 goals last season but feel off the planet during the playoffs. The Penguins have minimal interest but Guerin has the Penguins on his list of 5 teams he will sign with.
Potential Suitors: Dallas, NJ, STL, NYR, Pit
2. Ladislav Nagy, Dallas Stars: Have not heard any rumors about Nagy and hopefully the Penguins stay away from him. I don’t think he’s what there looking for.
1. Victor Kozlov, Ny Islanders – Received some insight last night the Penguins could take a look at Kozlov. Scored 26 goals last season. Assistant GM Chuck Fletcher is a fan of Kozlov and Kozlov is very good friends with Sergei Gonchar
2. Danius Zubrus, Buffalo Sabres: Didn’t the Penguins trade Jan Hrdina for Zubrus in 02? Anyways he is seeking a 5 yr 17 million deal but will never get that. At 2 – 2.5 million he could be worth it.
Under 1 million
1. Dany Sabourin (Vancouver): Ray Shero was impressed with Dany Sabourin during training camp in 05 and didn’t want to lose him. Sabourin played about 7 games last season behind Roberto Luongo and did well.
2. Mathieu Garon Los Angeles
3. Alex Auld – might be more expensive than the first two
Kariya – 3yr deal at 4 million per – Markov 2yrs at 3 million per season – Sabourin 1 yr 600K