MORNING PENS BUZZ
Penguins GM Ray Shero made sigificant moves at the NHL draft getting an excellent return for Jordan Staal who pretty much forced Shero's hand in dealing Jordan to Carolina, and then Shero created much needed cap space by moving Zbynek Michalek's $4 million a year salary without bringing any salary back to give the Penguins flexibility to possibly make an impact move for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
However, after striking out on Parise and Suter,Ã‚Â the Penguins who haven't won a playoff series since 2010, have now lost one of the NHL's premier two-way centerman in Jordan Staal, a 48 point winger who played a big factor on the Penguins going from 25th on the power play in 2010-2011 to 5th in the NHL last season, to also losing Zbynek Michalek who clearly didn't meet expectations but was still a serviceable No. 4 defenseman who logged 21:38 of ice time per game and led all Penguin defensemen in ice time shorthanded, averaging 3:38 for a unit that while stumbled mightily in the playoffs,Ã‚Â was one of the best in the NHL during the regular season ranking 3rd in the league (87.8%).
As currently constructed the Penguins remain a contender but personnel wise they didn't replace Jordan Staal with a better player in Brandon Sutter who is going to be an impact player but let's be honest isn't Jordan Staal, and based on the free agent market and high demands in the trade market, they might be hard pressed at the end of the day to replace Steve Sullivan and Zbynek Michalek with better players when it's all said and done, as in regards to Michalek, there could be a learning curve for some of the Penguins inexperience defensemen they intend to place in the top-6.
PENS WANTED TO GET YOUNGER AT SOME KEY SPOTS THIS SUMMER
The Penguins determined out of their scouting meetings in early June that they wanted to get younger on the blueline giving some of their top NHL ready prospects on the blueline a legitimate opportunity to win jobs next fall, most notably Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo who are restricted free agents and eligible for waivers, in addition to 2009 first round pick Simon Despres. "We've got younger defenseman that need to play, " Shero said.
The Penguins also determined out of those meetings that they wanted to get younger at Steve Sullivan and Arron Asham's spot at forward which led to the team deciding this week not to make offers to either player, despite strong interest from both players in returning.