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Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: Penguins’ Brass having difficult time in improving the roster?

Penguins Free Agency Buzz

Penguins GM Ron Hextall admitted on Wednesday he was “surprised” with some of the prices from day one of the Free Agency Frenzy.

Any small chance of the Penguins making a bold move on Wednesday was going to be for winger Brandon Saad, but the Penguins bowed out of the mix very early into the day and never made a official offer Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

Team sources say Hextall who seeks to leave the Penguins around $2 million in cap space to start the season, went into free agency with a set number Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

What has played out this off-season is the Penguins new regime really slow playing their attempts to improve this roster. With the subtractions of Jared McCann, Brandon Tanev and now Cody Ceci, this is not a better roster than the one this past spring that lost in the first round for the third straight year.

And some of this has been calculated in how the Penguins made a decision internally in being against moving draft picks just to move a salary. It’s hamstrung their ability to improve the roster.

The loss of Ceci, though, could be bigger than some realize, who agreed to a four year, $13 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. The coaching staff regarded Ceci as the team’s th Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

“We wanted to resign Ceci, but you probably saw the numbers,” said Hextall. “There was no real way for us to make that fit.”

The contracts for Brock McGinn (4 years, $11 million) and Cody Ceci are a difference of $500,000 against the cap. If Pittsburgh would have offered Cody Ceci a 4 year, $12 million contract last week, he’d likely still be a Penguin right now.

It’s going to be a valid question if the money that went to McGinn should have went to Ceci, especially when there’s more younger internal candidates to fill out the bottom-6 than there is to replace Cody Ceci, even if the General Manager has high expectations for Mark Friedman to fill that void.

McGinn is certainly a useful player, but for the present, the team essentially losing two players in the expansion draft with their decision making, saw them go out and have to sign another Brandon Tanev type in playing style and build. It isn’t like the cap difference is between the two is $2-$3 million where the Penguins gained a ton of value in that standpoint.

“He plays a real inside game,” said Ron Hextall of McGinn. He’s got really good energy, a physical player. Plays the same way every night. We just really valued the player. But we also valued the intangibles hat he brings on a nightly basis and some of the stuff that he’s going to bring into our locker room.”

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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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