Insider Only Penguins now preaching patience in search for a center, close to deal with Schultz

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The Pittsburgh Penguins today signed defenseman Matt Hunwick to a 3 year, $6.75 million contract and goaltender Antti Niemi to a 1 year, $700,000 contract.

The Penguins accomplished their goal of adding a depth defenseman in Hunwick who was one of their top targets and adding Niemi, a deal that has been in place since Thursday afternoon.

But, reports Friday of the Penguins having an imminent trade for a center did not come to fruition.

“I’m not surprised that we didn’t get anything done today,” Rutherford said today during a media session.

The Penguins lost Nick Bonino who agreed to a four year contract with the Nashville Predators. Pittsburgh was only willing to go three years for Bonino and that ship sailed a few days ago.

Identifying Bonino as their long-term replacement to Mike Fisher, Nashville emerged as a leading contender for Bonino from the get-go during the interview period and Bonino left term on the table to sign their, declining a five year offer from the Canadiens and had another five year on the table, per a source.

What the Penguins didn’t do was try to dip their toes in the free agent market for an impact center, even though Martin Hanzal and Brian Boyle didn’t go for much term.

Martin Hanzal went to Dallas on a 3 year deal with an AAV of $4.75 million.

Brian Boyle went to New Jersey for 2 years with an AAV of $2.55 million.

Dominic Moore a steady 4th line center, signed with the Maple Leafs for $1 million over 1 year.

“I think it’s important now we don’t panic and just go after somebody to just say we got a center,” said Rutherford. “I talked to the coach about this, he says as long as I got my two big guys healthy, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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