TIOPS Daily 5: Are NHL Star players too loyal to a fault?


DAILY FIVE (Penguins Edition) *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1.       The NBA and NHL are on different planets. The NBA has evolved into a global, star driven sport, while hockey will always be a regional niche sport. The NBA has a great TV contract and despite no parity with only two or three teams having a realistic shot at winning the NBA title, the league has never been more popular and players have never made more money.   What the NBA off-season, though, continues to prove is how underpaid NHL players are, especially the star players.  How much is Sidney Crosby worth to the Penguins? $20-$25 million per season?   Connor McDavid just signed an 8 year – $100 million contract, while Tim Hardway Jr who’s probably not even one of the best 75 players in the NBA, just signed a 4 year, $71 million contract with the New York Knicks. Like Crosby,Read More »

Jokinen returning to Pittsburgh wasn’t in the cards from the Penguins viewpoint


Latest Pens Buzz It’s now bargain hunting for NHL clubs. Jussi Jokinen today signed a one year, $1.1 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Jokinen, 34, was bought out on June 30th by the Florida Panthers after a disappointing 28 point performance for the Panthers in 16/17, though, the buy-out was more driven for financial reasons. Jokinen is just one season removed from a 60 point campaign and could be a strong addition to the Oilers bottom-6, especially with his ability to play wing and center, though, most clubs interested in Jokinen were looking at him as a winger. With the Penguins having a hole down the middle behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Jokinen being a former productive Penguin who loved his time in Pittsburgh, in addition to a connection to Jim Rutherford, it would have been an easy fit for the Penguins and Jokinen to embark onRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Reality of the Staal chatter


Latest Pens Buzz Jordan Staal has become this week’s version of Joe Thornton in Pittsburgh. If something gets talked among enough it becomes a story even if nothing is their. While fans have been speculating about Staal being a third line trade target for the Penguins, the situation has picked up more steam with some of the media joining the fray. The Staal rumors, though, are now identical to the Thornton chatter in the sense that the Penguins had no talks with Thornton and have had no talks with the Hurricanes about Staal. The Penguins are not trading for Jordan Staal this summer and Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t even bothering Ron Francis about it, a source says. While the belief is the Hurricanes will eventually look to get out of the Staal contract, it won’t be this season, league sources say. The Hurricanes are all in on trying toRead More »

Evaluating the Penguins center situation and prospect pool


Centers Sidney Crosby ($8.7MM) Evgeni Malkin ($9.5MM) Carter Rowney ($650K) *Greg McKegg ($650K) If training camp started today, one Penguins source says the organizational depth chart at the center position would be Sidney Crosby – Evgeni Malkin – Carter Rowney – Greg McKegg. Carter Rowney and Greg McKegg is certainly not ideal by any means and not a bottom six that you go deep in the playoffs with. Scouts also believe Rowney is better suited at wing in the NHL level. While the team is likely to make a move or two at somepoint, the Penguins feel even with this bottom-6 configuration they would still be the front-runners in the Eastern Conference to open the season. Hence, there’s no panic inside the organization to make a move to just make a move when it’s only July. Yes, the Penguins are still a top contender to repeat without Kevin Porter. TheRead More »

Importance of the Schultz Deal: Penguins only locked themselves into three years


Latest Penguins Buzz The Pittsburgh and Justin Schultz agreeing to a three year, $16.5 million contract took care of some important business for the Penguins as they needed clarity on Schultz in regards to where this number was going to fall. The Penguins are now committed to 11 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goaltenders on one-way contracts with $11 million in cap space. The Schultz deal is a higher AAV than the Penguins surely wanted to go when negotiations started but it was either do this deal at three years or a one year deal, which could have been risky for both sides. What became clear early in the process I’m told is that a long-term deal of 5+ years wasn’t going to be possible. Pittsburgh would have wanted the AAV in the 4’s, a deal the Schultz camp wasn’t interested in. Schultz reps at Newport Sports planned to askRead More »

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


Latest Penguins Buzz 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 duringRead More »

Penguins land agreement to sign Matt Hunwick


Penguins Free Agency Update I The Pittsburgh Penguins have secured a deal with defenseman Matt Hunwick. The agent informed the team in the last half hour Hunwick will be signing with the Penguins. It will be a multi-year deal, a source says. [Updated 12:00 p.m.: The deal is officially a 3 year, $6.75 million contract]. As reported here last night, Hunwick emerged on the Penguins radar and has been a player they’ve had interest in for a few seasons. What the Penguins like is the skating ability to get out of trouble and feel he’ll be a natural in leading the breakout and has a good first pass. Hunwick doesn’t produce a lot of points but provides the Penguins with more versatility than Ron Hainsey. Hunwick has shown the ability to log minutes as a bottom-pairing defenseman and on the PK. Coaches also rave about the type of person HunwickRead More »

Latest Penguins Buzz: Focus on trade for center, bolstering ‘D’ depth


Latest Penguins Rumblings — Penguins Defenseman Trevor Daley will be a Detroit Red Wing Saturday afternoon when the clock strikes 12:01 p.m. The Daley camp cut off talks Friday with other finalists and informed those clubs he will be signing with the Red Wings. As mentioned here the last couple days, he was going to get a 3-4 year deal and the deal with Detroit is at least three years and some chatter it could be a four year deal in the $12.5-$13.5 million range. — There’s considerable interest in Chris Kunitz but hearing the Kunitz camp is not 100% certain what type of offers are actually going to be coming in until they do. The expectation is Kunitz will have multiple two year offers in the $2.75-$3.25 million per range but Kunitz doesn’t have a deal lined up yet. A lot of teams chasing him are also chasing Patrick MarleauRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Interest emerging in Del Zotto?


Latest Penguins/Free Agency Buzz Who will put the biggest offer on the table to Kevin Shattenkirk? Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils or Jason Botterill and the Buffalo Sabres? Rumblings are the Sabres are putting together a 7 year signing bonus heavy offer to Kevin Shattenkirk that could be north of $50 million. The Devils who are making an aggressive sales pitch and also a finalist for Shattenkirk, will be in the same neighborhood. Botterill vs Shero pegged to come in with the biggest offers and both could come up empty if Shattenkirk takes a lesser deal from a contender which is very much a possibility. — The Penguins were informed Thursday morning that Trevor Daley was no longer considering them but with Penguins GM Jim Rutherford and agent Rich Curran very close, the Penguins started to know by Tuesday that Daley wouldn’t be returning. Pittsburgh made a runRead More »