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GM Hockey » The other NHL teams » Metropolitan » Pittsburgh Penguins » What's Next For the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins?

What's Next For the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins?

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davetherave

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Not so long ago...February 15 to be exact...the Pittsburgh Penguins looked very much like a team stricken with the so-called 'Curse of the Cup Finalist Who Didn't Go Home With The Mug'.

Waddling and wobbling, a playoff spot for the birds in Black and Gold looked tenuous and even doubtful.

The losses of Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu, Georges Laraque, Colby Armstrong, Ty Conklin, Gary Roberts among others, all added to the reasons cited why the Pingu Posse wasn't marching any more.

But hockey is a sport where everything can change in unexpected ways.

Today, the Pens celebrate their first Stanley Cup since the days of Super Mario.

There has and will be much written about how and why they did it, but what this thread will focus on is 'what happens next?' for the newly crowned World Champions.

Pessimists will go on about how GM Ray Shero can't possibly keep the team together; optimists will talk about how the Pens are poised to recapture the glory days in Steeltown.

Somewhere between the two, there's an objective view.

Yahoo Sports offers its snapshot, and a hint of its perspective to be further elaborated, in its latest Team Report:

INSIDE SHOTS: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS TEAM REPORT
Yahoo Sports, June 13, 2008

Fresh off their first Stanley Cup championship since 1992, the Penguins will face a far less stressful offseason than last year.

After losing in the 2008 Final, the Penguins faced a difficult challenge of retaining several key players. They ultimately lost wingers
Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu, Gary Roberts and Adam Hall.

This summer, the Penguins will look to extend the contract of defenseman
Sergei Gonchar, who is entering the last year of his pact.

The Penguins are also looking to re-sign winger
Ruslan Fedotenko, who is an unrestricted free agent, and work on extensions for young defensemen Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski.

A tough decision will be whether to keep backbone defenseman
Rob Scuderi.

The Penguins’ core—centers
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Brooks Orpik—are locked into contracts for the next four seasons.

Penguins 2, Red Wings 1: Pittsburgh won at Detroit on Friday to win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1992. Forward
Max Talbot scored twice in the second period and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 shots as the Penguins completed rallies from 2-0 and 3-2 series deficits against the defending champion Red Wings. The Penguins are the first team to win the Cup after losing to the same team in a previous year’s final since the 1984 Edmonton Oilers.

Notes, Quotes

C Sidney Crosby missed most of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final because of a left knee injury. Crosby was hurt in the second period on an into-the-boards collision with Red Wings LW
Johan Franzen. Crosby returned for a brief shift in the third period but did not play the rest of the game. He will be fine for next season.

The Penguins’ win Friday in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at Detroit was historic. They are the first NHL team since the 1971 Montreal Canadiens to win Game 7 on the road.

C Max Talbot led all players with four goals in the Stanley Cup Final. Talbot finished the playoffs with eight goals, only four fewer than his regular-season total.

Quote To Note: “I don’t know how to explain it. I got to lift the Cup.”—D
Hal Gill on winning his first NHL title Friday.

Player Notes:

C Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe as Stanley Cup playoff MVP. Malkin finished the playoffs with 14 goals and 36 points. His point total was the most since 1993, when Kings C Wayne Gretzky topped all scorers with 40 points. Malkin is the first Russian to win the Smythe.

RW
Petr Sykora did not play in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final because of a broken left foot. Sykora was injured Tuesday in Game 6 at Mellon Arena on a blocked shot. He was replaced in the lineup for Game 7 by RW Miroslav Satan, who won the Cup 11 years after his Buffalo Sabres lost Game 6 to the Dallas Stars.

---

So the question, as always, is 'Can They Repeat?'

When the answer is, 'Who Knows'?

No team has won successive Cups since 1998, and this year featured the only two teams that have been back to the Cup Finals in successive years, since the Devils in 2001.

Interestingly, as a player, Dan Bylsma, according to his Wiki bio, "struggled his entire career to stay in the NHL, mostly due to a lack of natural offensive ability (his primary role in the NHL had always been penalty killing). Injuries took a toll in later years, and before being put on waivers in January 2004, Bylsma missed 31 games due to knee surgery. He retired from playing following the 2003-04 season."

Bylsma was perhaps the definitive 'Cup Finals bridesmaid' in the Pens' dressing room: he'd been there as a player under his now rival coach Mike Babc0ck when Babs led the Mighty Ducks in an unsuccessful bid for the bowl in 2003.

As the saying goes, 'Funny how what goes around, comes around'.

So what does Ray Shero do now?

The competition only gets tougher.

What assets does he, and what problems will he, have?

What steps can/should he take?

What do the Penguins need to make it all happen again?

And is it even possible?

And who will their fiercest rivals be? Who can take the Cup away from them next year?

Over to you, GM Hockey Members.



Last edited by davetherave on Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:58 am; edited 2 times in total

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Firesale! They got their cup...time to blow it up and start over. :^^^^:

PKC

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Lots of interesting questions surrounding the Penguins. Namely, how they plan on having any quality wingers (aside from Kunitz) for Sid and Geno when they have approximately $5-million left on their cap and they also need two more NHL-caliber defensemen and a backup goalie.

I think more than ever, the possibility of Jordan Staal being traded is going to increase. They just simply need that $4-million in cap space to put some sort of players around Sidney and Evgeni.

I just don't see any way this team can possibly repeat next year given their impending personnel shortages. Matter of fact, I think they are going to be in tough to possibly even make the playoffs.

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
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What's Next? Calling me up to thank me for predicting they'd win the Cup. Smile



Last edited by Cap'n Clutch on Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:08 pm; edited 1 time in total


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- Unknown Author

SensFan71


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then after the phone call, a parade I suppose, then maybe each guy gets the cup to himself for a day, I am already working on a plan to heist it when Sidney Crosby brings it to Cole Harbour, part of the plan also involves making him cry, which should be easy. I have said too much already, you all never heard of this plan. Vertigo (maybe that will hypnotize you all)

wprager

wprager
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It will be interesting, to say the least. I remember -- I think it was a couple of years ago, after we eliminated them -- discussing the same thing. The Pittsburgh fans were all "Just you wait until next year" and we were all "Oh yeah, well you'll lose half your team in order to keep the stars".

Well, here we are two years, two SCF appearances, one new site and one Cup later. Who was right? Pittsburgh fans were. We were wrong, probably because we are not as smart at being GMs as we thought we were. Shero has done a great job and I'm sure he will again.

That said, is the situation a little different now? Yes. The cap is probably going down (if not next year, then the year after). On the other hand, UFAs are more likely to be attracted to Pittsburgh, especially when asked to waive their NTCs at the trade deadline.

Pittsburgh may lose some player -- correct that, they will lose some players. They may be weaker in the regular season, but I think it is a little presumptious to say they will miss the playoffs. Not haveing a high pick in this year's draft will not help, but the effects of that will not be felt for 2-3 years. If Shero keeps the right players, and if he leaves himself some cap room for March, then the Penguins should again be favorites when entering the playoffs (barring injuries, of course).

He certainly picked the rght players to stay last time (even though he *did* offer Hossa a nice, long-term contract). There's not reason to believe he won't do it again. And they've got a better coach, and moreexperience to boot.

They'll be fine.

Cap'n Clutch

Cap'n Clutch
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People thought I lost my mind when I said the Pens were a better team despite losing Roberts, Laraque, Ruutu, Malone, Hossa and whoever else. Bringing in Guerin and Kunitz was huge for them I think.

Pens are the team to beat now. Can they repeat? I say NO. They'll still be a tough team and they'll be the Champs until they're eliminated from the playoffs but, there's a reason a repeat hasn't happened since the Wings did it and with the Cap it gets even tougher.


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- Unknown Author

wprager

wprager
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Cap'n Clutch wrote:People thought I lost my mind when I said the Pens were a better team despite losing Roberts, Laraque, Ruutu, Malone, Hossa and whoever else. Bringing in Guerin and Kunitz was huge for them I think.

Pens are the team to beat now. Can they repeat? I say NO. They'll still be a tough team and they'll be the Champs until they're eliminated from the playoffs but, there's a reason a repeat hasn't happened since the Wings did it and with the Cap it gets even tougher.

They may be a little tired next season. I hope we play them lots in the early goings.

davetherave

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The view from Pittsburgh...

THE BIG QUESTION: TO STAY OR NOT TO STAY?
Kevin Gorman, The Trbune-Review, June 15, 2009

Craig Adams looked around an otherwise empty Penguins dressing room Sunday morning, knowing some players wouldn't be returning to the Stanley Cup champions next season.

He remembers how the 2006 Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes were "affected big-time" after center Matt Cullen and defenseman Aaron Ward signed free-agent deals with the N.Y. Rangers.

"I've been through it before: you always lose a couple guys that you don't want to lose," Adams said. "It's tough when guys play as well as they do and win the Cup. There's always somebody out there that wants to give them a nice raise."

Left wing Ruslan Fedotenko recalled the frustration of winning the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in '04, only to see goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin sign a four-year, $27-million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks following the NHL lockout.

"I felt like he should stay, but it was part of management's decision who they wanted to keep and who not," Fedotenko said. "They went a different way. I was pretty disappointed at that point, to be a player and see that our goalie left."

While the Penguins aren't in danger of losing any of their superstars — centers Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are locked up in long-term deals — Adams and Fedotenko are two of 10 complementary players who become unrestricted free agents July 1. They can only take a wait-and-see approach to whether general manager Ray Shero makes it a priority to re-sign them this summer.

"I would like to come back," Fedotenko said, "but we'll see what plans they have for me."

Fedotenko and right wing Miroslav Satan were among the veterans who signed one-year deals with the Penguins in hopes of resuscitating their careers and winning the Stanley Cup. In that regard, they considered theirs a mission accomplished.

Now, they will find out whether the Penguins can afford to re-sign them or turn instead to lesser-priced forwards. Or if another team puts a higher price on their Cup experience.

"It's part of the business," Fedotenko said. "Nobody gives you a raise when you're 30th in the league."

Yesterday, the Penguins' free agents professed to be too immersed in celebrating the Cup to concern themselves with the future.

"We'll take care of that stuff later on," right wing Bill Guerin said. "I'm not even thinking about it right now. I'm just thinking about where the next party is."

Guerin knows it's inevitable the Penguins will lose some players.

"Nowadays, everything is so tight money-wise with the salary cap that guys have to put themselves in situations where they're going to succeed the way they want," Guerin said. "Some guys want to play for the Cup every year. Some guys want a nice weather climate. Some guys getting the opportunity to play more, that's important. Everybody's got a different agenda but, for me, the opportunity to keep winning and the opportunity to win this year was everything. I think when free agents look at possible places to go, everyone is going to look at Pittsburgh because of the players that they have here and the opportunity that they'll get."

If the Marian Hossa saga in the Stanley Cup Final taught the Penguins anything, it's that there is no such thing as a sure thing on the free-agent market. Where Hossa signed a one-year deal with Detroit because he believed it gave him "the best chance to win the Cup," these Penguins have one NHL title on their resume.

"You never know what is going to happen," Adams said, referring to former Penguins Hossa, Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu and Ty Conklin leaving via free agency. "If this Penguins team had missed the playoffs this year, those guys wouldn't be talking about regretting anything. You can stick around and say you want to win X-amount more Cups here, and that's not the way things turn out.

"Or you get what happened to me. I signed a three-year contract and I got traded (to Chicago). I don't think you should ever blame a guy for leaving, because there's no guarantees if you stay."

Kevin Gorman can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

davetherave

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ESPN's EJ Hradek and Timo Seppa of Puck Prospectus provide some perspective on projections for the process in Pittsburgh.

CROSBY, MALKIN STILL NEED A WINGMAN
Skilled forward could revitalize underachieving power play
EJ Hradek, Timo Seppa, ESPN.com, June 18, 2009

Plugging Holes - Pittsburgh Penguins


What's Next For the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins? Pit
The Hole: A dynamic winger

Young superstars Evgeni Malkin (113 points, +23.4 GVT) and Sidney Crosby (103 points, +18.8 GVT) are virtuosos on ice that have most often found themselves playing with linemates that are the hockey equivalent of the local grade-school orchestra. That Pittsburgh's power play ranked 20th in the NHL (-6.2 GVT, 17.2 percent power-play efficiency) speaks volumes of the remaining top six forwards. If they were to add a wing capable of keeping up with their master composers, the Penguins could really make their offense sing.

The Fix: Sign RW Alex Kovalev (UFA, Canadiens)

Over four-plus seasons with Montreal, Kovalev scored 45 of 103 goals (44 percent) on the man advantage. Imagine a power play centered by Crosby (+5.8 PP GVT), with Malkin (+6.8 PP GVT) and Petr Sykora (+2.5 PP GVT) on the wings, and with Sergei Gonchar (+2.4 PP GVT) and Kovalev (+5.6 PP GVT) at the point.

Why would a highly flawed Canadiens club re-sign an aging Kovalev (65 points, +10.8 GVT)? On the other hand, Malkin and Kovalev could be an inspired pairing and could help revive Kovalev's production to the point-per-game levels of 2007-08.

E.J.'s Take: Kovalev is an intriguing option. At 36, he remains in top condition. In 2000-01, during an earlier stint in Pitt, Kovalev enjoyed the best year of his career (44 goals, 95 points). I believe he still has plenty of skill, but he has been inconsistent during his career and he's never been known for his two-way game. After an 84-point campaign in 2007-08, Kovalev's production dipped 19 points in '08-09.

The Penguins would love to add a top-six winger to place alongside stud pivots Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. That's a given. But with nearly $49M of cap space already allotted to 14 players for the 2009-10 season, the Penguins can't break the bank on Kovalev, who earned $4.5M last year. And, because of the league's CBA rules regarding contracts signed by players over age 35, the Penguins might not want to offer anything beyond a one-year deal. Both parties would really have to want to make this happen. While there's some logic to it, I don't see it happening.

Timo Seppa is a writer for Puck Prospectus. E.J. Hradek is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

Note: A mainstay of Puck Prospectus's metrics is "Goals Versus Threshold" (GVT). The stat blends an array of offensive and defensive figures to measure the value, in terms of goals, a player contributes above what the marginal player would over the course of the season. A marginal player is one that could be replaced with a player of equivalent skill, e.g. from the minors. For instance, Evgeni Malkin had an offensive GVT of +18.9, a defensive GVT of +4.5 and a total GVT of +23.4 for the 2008-9 regular season, meaning that Malkin was worth 23.4 goals more than a marginal player over the course of the season, or worth about 0.3 additional goals per game. In the team context, GVT refers to performance above an NHL average team. For the regular season, the Detroit Red Wings had a +30.8 offensive GVT, a +15.1 defensive GVT, a -21.5 goaltending GVT, for a +24.4 total GVT. Therefore, at even strength, Detroit was 24.4 goals better than the average team.



Last edited by davetherave on Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

SensFan71


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Kovalev in Pittsburgh, interesting perspective there, wondering how they would afford him, he is going to want top dollar even though he doesn't deserve top dollar.

davetherave

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The Penguins add to their Quebecois content by plucking big dude Despres (6'4", 205) to keep the Pingu Posse marching on...and the Bell Centre crowd roars as Simon Despres dons a Penguins jersey.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/simon_despres

davetherave

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Penguins re-sign Guerin, Adams
Sports Illustrated/AP, June 29, 2009

PITTSBURGH-- The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed Bill Guerin for one year on Monday.

The 38-year-old forward who helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup this month would have become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday. He signed for $2 million, accepting a big pay cut to stay with a championship team after making $4.5 million last season with the Islanders and Penguins.

Pittsburgh also signed Craig Adams, a fourth-line forward, to a $1.1 million, two-year contract. Adams made $600,000 last season. He will make $550,000 during each season of his new deal.

A 17-year NHL veteran, Guerin scored seven goals and 15 points in the postseason after being acquired from the Islanders at the trading deadline in March, with all of his goals coming in the first three rounds. He has 408 goals and 811 points in 1,185 regular-season games with New Jersey, where he also won a Stanley Cup, Edmonton, Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, San Jose before joining the Islanders and then the Penguins.

"We are excited to agree to terms with Billy on this one-year deal," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. "He made a tremendous impact on this team with his scoring ability, physical play and outstanding leadership and was a key factor in our drive to the Cup.

"I know our players, coaches and fans will be happy to have him back in Pittsburgh."

Guerin, obtained from the Islanders for a third-round draft pick, scored five goals and seven assists in 17 regular-season games with the Penguins.

Adams had three goals and two assists in 24 playoff games for the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. He had two goals and four assists in 36 games with Chicago and one assist in nine regular-season games after being claimed off waivers by Pittsburgh on March 4.

Forwards Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan, defensemen Rob Scuderi, Hal Gill and Philippe Boucher and goalie Mathieu Garon can all become free agents on Wednesday.

Cap'n Clutch

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I think Scuderi is the only one the Pens should look at keeping out of the bunch who will become FAs IMO. Maybe Gill as well. I'm surprised I'm saying that but since playing for the Pens he's really impressed me.


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davetherave

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Cap'n Clutch wrote:I think Scuderi is the only one the Pens should look at keeping out of the bunch who will become FAs IMO. Maybe Gill as well. I'm surprised I'm saying that but since playing for the Pens he's really impressed me.

Well, Scuds and Gill are both gone...

Checked in on a couple of live blogs at MaxHockey and PuckDaddy today, where journos like Fischler, Dreger, Cox, Kolb, Friedman, Wyshynski were all trading info...

Apparently the Pens have been talking to Francois Beauchemin...and Alex Kovalev.

Shero is a crafty guy, it'll be interesting to watch what he does next...securing Goligoski was smart.

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