PENS FALLBACK OPTIONS
At the top of the Penguins wislist this summer is to add a No. 1 defenseman to be paired with Kris Letang and a long-term scoring winger for Sidney Crosby. The task of accomplishing both of those feats will be extremely difficult let alone just one of them.
At the winger position, there is only one player in free agency in Zach Parise who fits the mold that the Penguins are prepared to make a splash for. In the trade market it's slim pickings, although Devin Setoguchi is an available√ā¬†player the Penguins really like and some executives believe the Penguins have the assets to get into the game for Bobby Ryan if they were to decide to go that route.
After Zach Parise in free agency, Pittsburgh is unlikely to find a long-term winger for Crosby but there are some intriguing short-term options that management is believed to be discussing this week in their organizational meetings.
1. Steve Sullivan - Age 37
Free Agency Buzz: - GM Ray Shero still has interest in resigning Sullivan but has yet to move forward on a deal with Sullivan as Pittsburgh wants to keep their options open on the trade and free agency route. If Sullivan, as expected, gets to July 1, it doesn't mean his tenure in Pittsburgh is over. Pittsburgh intends to√ā¬†keep dialogue open as both sides explore options. Sullivan last season made $1.5 million on a one year contract. He had 17 goals and 31 assists in 79 regular season games and added 2 goals and 6 points in the post-season. Sullivan was a factor on the power play with 21 power play points as the Penguins ranked 5th in the NHL, and showed good chemistry with Sidney Crosby due to his vision and playmaking ability. Sullivan though turns 38 in July and was inconsistent at even strength, ranking 8th on the Penguins with 27 even strength points.
2. DET Jiri Hudler - Age 28
Free Agency Buzz: Here's a sleeper to watch for the Penguins on July 1. Sources tell me the Penguins pro scouting staff is said to be intrigued about Hudler and have brought him up in organizational meetings. The 28 year old forward had 25 goals and 50 points last season, including a +10 rating. At 5-10, 190 lbs, he's a competitive little guy who has played in a lot of big situations. Offensively Hudler has the speed to fit well in Dan Bylsma's system to go with great hands and a dangerous shot. Hudler is also one of those players who the puck follows and has meshed well with superstars, playing on a√ā¬†line last season with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. √Ę¬Ä¬úHe will go to tough areas, " an NHL source said of Hudler. Hudler made $3 million last season and while him playing in the KHL in 2009-2010 could concern teams, if the price is right, Pittsburgh could enter the mix for him I'm told. At the end of the day though, Hudler's demands are likely to be too rich for the Penguins taste and he is also repped by agent Petr Svoboda who the Penguins didn't have great dealings with last summer during negotiations with Jaromir Jagr.
3. PHX Shane Doan - Age 35
Free Agency Buzz: With the Coyotes ownership situation still up in the air, Doan intends to test the waters in free agency and contenders will be lining up for his services. Since missing out on Mike Knuble in free agency√ā¬† in July 2009, the Penguins have sought this type of player to add to their mix.