TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. The Penguins blueprint for the off-season has been laid out through organizational meetings. The team plans to be very aggressive to acquire a top-6 forward via trade at the draft and are looking to fill depth third and fourth line spots by resigning their own, group that includes Blake Comeau, Daniel Winnik, Andrew Ebbett, Bobby Farnham or fill a spot or two through free agency. At the forward position, if the Penguins dip into free agency it’s going to be for role players like last summer on 1-2 year deals.
The Penguins are certainly confident of being able to move a salary or two where they can take on a salary for a winger in the $5-$6 million range if need be, a source says.
2. The Penguins are putting it out there that they plan to turn to a youth movement on the backend? What’s happening here is circumstances dictating it more than anything.
For one the Penguins love Paul Martin but Martin has had his foot out the door since last summer due to personal feelings towards the organization and that hasn’t changed. There will be a significant market for him, one league executive predicting the bidding will be seven to eight teams for Martin, and both sides know it’s not going to happen here, despite the face the GM and agent put on through the media.
Meanwhile, Christian Ehrhoff who may have to take another short term deal after suffering three concussions since Janaury, wants to sign out West and the Penguins have been informed of that by Ehrhoff’s agent Rick Curran who has a great relationship with Jim Rutherford. There would be interest in resigning Ehrhoff under the right circumstances but the interest isn’t mutual.
What will be interesting to watch is if the Penguins strike out on acquiring a top-6 forward via trade at the draft and the cap space that was allotted for a winger is there, can they help themselves not to spend on a defenseman? The team is high on Cody Franson and Andrej Sekera, both trade deadline targets. Both will cost at least $5.5 million per but the difference compared to Paul Martin is both are still in their 20’s. Those would be the two names to watch.
3. Bob Mckenzie over the weekend revealed Phil Kessel’s trade list from last year (Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh). It’s basically a list you make when you don’t want to be traded by putting all cap teams. The Penguins were one of the 8 and while many around the league believe Jim Rutherford is destined to do something risky, there’s just too many years left on that contract for Rutherford to get ownership to sign off on that one, a source says.
The names being discussed who carry a big contract, are ones with less term. Think Semin, Lupul, Sharp.
4. The best 1-2 punch in the Majors has been Gerrit Cole and A.J Burnett to this point. Cole is 1st in the NL in wins (10), 1st in ERA (1.73) but the key stat is the Pirates have won 10 of Cole’s 13 starts, with Cole producing 11 quality starts. Burnett second in the NL with a 1.89 ERA, has 10 quality starts on the season. Francisco Liriano came into tonight’s game with 9 quality starts. He’s on his way to No. 10. Liriano having that 7 run game and the Pirates winning only three times in his first 12 starts of the season, it’s gotten lost a bit with the success of Cole, Burnett of how good he’s also been this season.
5. Pitt’s Tyler Boyd is expected to be charged Tuesday with a DUI charge and other summary offenses after being pulled over around 2:35 a.m. on Saturday in Jefferson Hills. As a first year coach, Pat Narduzzi can’t brush this one under the bus like so many other schools can do when star players get into trouble. It will be a surprise if Boyd doesn’t get suspended for a game.