Latest Penguins Buzz

The calendar has hit August and the Matt Cullen situation is pretty much the same as it was on July 4th.

Cullen is waiting for an answer from the Minnesota Wild before deciding whether to resign with the Penguins or not. He also isn’t too keen of the Penguins offer in the low $1 million range that’s been on the table for a month.

Training camp isn’t around the corner just yet but something has to give in the next couple weeks.

The Penguins have not given Cullen a firm date on when they need a decision because GM Jim Rutherford has been content not to make any other additions.

However, that could change in the coming weeks as the Penguins are starting [hide] to kick some tires on the free agent group and league sources say the organization has had exploratory talks with at least one potential target.

dominic_moore One of them is soon to be 36 year old center Dominic Moore.

Pittsburgh has had talks with the Moore camp in the past week and the Penguins coaching staff are fans of Moore and confident of him being able to come in and fill the void they’d be losing if Cullen signs elsewhere.

Not 16 goals but in a lot of other areas.

Moore had 6 goals and 15 points last season and was 56% in the faceoff circle. He’s a strong penalty killer who logs heavy minutes on the PK and would be an ideal fit in the room.

Mike Sullivan likes centers who can skate well, another reason Moore has also emerged on the Penguins radar with the Cullen situation up in the air.

The organization has been open to Oskar Sundqvist going into camp and trying to win a spot if the Penguins don’t sign Cullen or don’t sign a replacement, but the consensus among key members of the development staff who Jim Rutherford leans on heavily, Bill Guerin among them, is that it will benefit Sundqvist to get at least another half season in the American Hockey League.

Free Agency Buzz

— 34 year old Antoine Vermette suddenly became a free agent this week when the Coyotes bought him out. As many as five teams reached out to Vermette’s agent. Pittsburgh was not one of them. At least not as of this afternoon. Pittsburgh liked Vermette at the 2015 trade deadline but don’t see them looking into him this time around.

— The mystery around the league is why Jiri Hudler remains unsigned. Down year in 15-16 but led the NHL in even strength points in 2014-2015 and had a 76 point season. Somebody is going to get a bargain. Pittsburgh has had interest in the past but doesn’t sound like anything’s going on there. Prior to the Devils acquiring Taylor Hall, most in the know during the negotiating period thought Hudler was headed to the Devils on a three year deal.

— A 25 year old with the type of talent and goal scoring ability that Brandon Pirri has shouldn’t still be available but there’s a lot of talk around the league about him being a tough player to coach from a work ethic standpoint and past coaches view him as a ‘me first player’ that’s had many teams not considering him. Whether it’s legit is truly unknown but when that type of cloud starts following players, it’s hard to get rid of.

No indication Pittsburgh is interested. Pirri, though, would be an interesting buy-low signing and let Mike Sullivan handle him. [/hide]tiops-small