Pens Free Agency Buzz
After missing out on veteran forward Rob Niedermayer, the Penguins are now patiently going to explore all of their options when it comes to completing their NHL roster. Those options include adding a forward or defenseman in free agency, staying put and exploring the trade market.
The team only has about $2 million in cap space and would like to keep $750,000 – $1 million in cap space to open the season.
Indications from contacts is that right now the team doesn’t have any one-way contract offers on the table to free agents.
The Penguins pursuit of Niedermayer has sparked speculation the team is eyeing potential third line centers on the free agent market but that doesn’t appear to be the case for now.
Of the three or four potential fits, the Penguins are not in on any of them at this time. Inside Pittsburgh Sports learned this afternoon
that the Penguins have had zero contact with Larry Kelly, the agent for center Dominic Moore
who has been rumored as a potential target.
The team has also yet to follow up with Mike Luit the agent for Jeff Halpern who approached the Pens’ organization over the weekend about Halpern being a potential fit with the Penguins.
Meanwhile, the team is not optimistic about adding a top-6 winger this off-season but are monitoring the market for a few potential targets.
Inside Pittsburgh Sports learned this afternoon through team contacts, the Penguins have had some contact with Steve Reich, the agent for winger Raffi Torres. However, no serious discussions have taken place.
When reached for comment today, Reich told Inside Pittsburgh Sports he has not received an offer from Pittsburgh.
Except for a few inquiries, the market has been very weak for Torres who was a top target at the trade deadline for the Penguins.
Torres who had 19 goals last season, made $2.75 million in 2009-2010 and projects to take a reduction in pay, based on the current market.
Another winger we can confirm the Penguins have checked in on is Maxim Afinogenov. Contact from the Penguins was confirmed by Don Meehan, when reached for contact yesterday.
One winger the Penguins have yet to inquire about is veteran winger Paul Kariya. There has been zero contact between the Pens and agent Don Baizley.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com reported this afternoon that Kariya hasn’t even decided if he will play next season. If the right situation arises, many believe Kariya will come back to play.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Shero eventually looks into Kariya but for now, any talk of him heading to Pittsburgh is made up.
Without exactly saying so, Rick Curran the agent for Alexei Ponikarovsky made it clear today when I spoke with him that Ponikarovsky is not considering a return to Pittsburgh at a reduced rate. The Penguins reached out to Curran Saturday morning.
The player still in limbo is Bill Guerin who had 21 goals last season. The Penguins say he’s still an option but Guerin’s camp believes Pittsburgh is going in another direction.
The team has also not ruled out adding a veteran defenseman on the cheap. The team currently only has five defensemen signed to one-way contracts. There continues to be some whispers the team isn’t overly confident of going into the season with Ben Lovejoy as their 6th defenseman and Deryk Engelland, Steve Wagner behind him.