NHL Free Agency Buzz: McKee “reviewing his options”
Like some of his former teammates, Penguins defenseman Jay McKee is patiently waiting out the free agent market. The market for McKee has begun to slowly pick up of late but the 32 year old defenseman is looking for the right fit and willing to wait it out.
“Still reviewing options, ” Pat Morris the agent for Jay McKee told Inside Pittsburgh Sports on Thursday of this week when asked if McKee was getting close to picking a destination.
Two-to-three options have emerged for McKee in the past week, with the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks emerging as potential suitors. There has also been inquries from Columbus and Washington but neither team has been engaged in negotiations with McKee or have presented a formal offer.
One team not in the mix for McKee is Pittsburgh. Morris and Pens GM Ray Shero have had zero contract talks this off-season and none are expected in the near future.
Although the Penguins only have five defensemen signed to one-way contracts, a high ranking official tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports that at least right now, the Penguins are not in the market to add a defenseman to their NHL roster (1-way contract).
The Penguins intend to go into training camp with Ben Lovejoy, Deryk Engelland, Steve Wagner and Andrew Hutchinson battling for the final one or two roster spots.The Penguins plan is to evaluate their defensive depth once the season begins not now.They want to see how things shake out the first couple months of the season.
Fast rising prospects Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait are on the verge of being NHL ready but will begin the season in Wilkes Barre/Scranton.
Top prospect Simon Despres will spend another year in juniors but it has not been ruled out that Despres spends the first nine game window with the Penguins to open the season, assuming he shows he’s NHL ready.
Despres will attend Canada’s Junior evaluation camp next week and appears to be on track to become an NHL regular by the 2011-2012 season.