I’ve already addressed the truth that, because of wage cap constraints, the Penguins might have problem swinging any important offers or touchdown any impactful free brokers over the summer time.
That features inking our personal free brokers to new offers. Assuming Colton Sceviour (UFA) and Mark Jankowski (RFA) stroll, the Pens have roughly $3.2 million of accessible area in response to CapFriendly to signal RFAs Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger and Radim Zohorna and UFAs Cody Ceci, Frederick Gaudreau and Evan Rodrigues.
That ain’t sufficient to convey all of them again. Not practically sufficient. And whereas there’s hope GM Ron Hextall may be capable of swing offers for, say, Jason Zucker ($5.5M) and/or Marcus Pettersson ($4.083M) to clear extra cap area, clearly there’s no assure at this stage.
So what if the worst case state of affairs performs out and the Pens keep moderately tight to the cap. Would we be capable of fill a few of our said wants from throughout the group? As a refresher, we’re trying so as to add dimension and bodily each up entrance and on ‘d’ and assist between the pipes, both within the type of a starter or a 1A man.
The reply? Sorta kinda.
The Pens even have a reasonably promising crop of forwards ready within the wings (no pun supposed). Whereas none (with a lone exception) undertaking to be a star, all might be stable contributors whereas including some dimension and gristle to the combination.
Radim Zohorna (lw-c)—Pressed into service when accidents rocked the forwards, the towering Czech impressed along with his hockey IQ, skating and fingers. Nor was his success restricted to his eight-game cameo with the Pens. “Massive Z” averaged a point-per-game throughout 33 mixed contests with BK Mlada Boleslav of the Czech Extraliga and the Child Pens. Whereas the hulking 25-year-old isn’t overly bodily, his sheer dimension (6’6” 220) and stunning pace might create match-up nightmares for the opposition. If Zucker, Blueger or Jared McCann depart, Zohorna might be a major candidate for full-time obligation.
Samuel Poulin (lw-rw)—Initially touted as an influence ahead, Poulin is probably not the bruising bodily presence the Pens covet. However he’s an sincere two-way participant who brings dimension (6’2” 213) and a willingness to do the soiled work within the corners and alongside the boards. Though his manufacturing slipped from his very spectacular 2019-20 marketing campaign (32 objectives and 77 factors in 46 video games with Sherbrooke) Sam possesses a scoring contact, at the very least on the junior stage. A left-hand shot able to taking part in both wing, he’s been projected as a stable third-liner with upside potential.
Nathan Legare (rw)—A real diamond within the tough, Legare has an opportunity to be a particular participant. A spitfire with fingers, the 6’0” 206-pounder performs a spirited, aggressive type to go along with a depraved shot and lightning launch. Stuff you simply can’t train. Along with his elite ending expertise and killer instincts, he forechecks and backchecks with gusto, thanks partially to improved skating. Maybe the pure successor to Patric Hornqvist because the group’s emotional energy plant. A phrase of warning: coach Mike Sullivan should guard towards burying Legare on the fourth line, as he’s wont to do with youngsters.
Others who might presumably carve out a spot? Anthony Angello (c-rw) proved he might successfully deal with fourth-line obligation on the NHL stage whereas offering dimension (6’5” 210), a bodily ingredient (51 hits in 19 video games) and stable defensive play (a lone 5v5 purpose towards). He’s a very good skater as well and can drop the gloves if pushed, though he’s not essentially an achieved fighter.
Proper wing Kasper Bjorkqvist (6’1” 211) is reputed to play an influence sport as effectively. He tallied 26 factors in 44 video games for KooKoo in Finland’s SM-liiga. Portsider Drew O’Connor washed out in his first style of big-league motion, however he caught hearth with the Child Pens (19 factors in 20 video games). Though not bodily within the least, he’s giant (6’3” 200).
Don’t overlook heart Jordy Bellerive. The feisty former junior hockey scoring star overcame burns to his fingers in a doubtlessly career-ending camp hearth accident and made important strides with the Child Pens in ’20-21 (10 objectives in 29 video games).
On the blue line it’s a completely totally different story. Just about Pierre-Olivier Joseph or bust.
To digress, on an organizational stage the Pens have cultivated defensemen like Cam Lee and Josh Maniscalco, who match Sullivan’s move-the-puck-to-the-forwards mould virtually to a fault. There’s valuable little dimension and even much less snarl.
Hextall utilized a Band-Assist by claiming former Flyer Mark Friedman off waivers. Whereas Friedman performs with an edge, he weighs 185 kilos and customarily received the worst of bodily confrontations throughout his 5 video games with the Pens, one leading to a concussion. Juuso Riikola is a surprisingly stable hitter for his dimension (189 kilos), but it surely’s laborious to guage the place he stands following a misplaced season (he skated in solely two video games).
Again to Joseph. He has the potential to turn into a robust all-around defender. He’s blessed with an extended, highly effective skating stride and sees the ice very effectively. His passes are crisp and certain. P-O’s nonetheless filling out his rangy 6’2” body (185 kilos eventually depend) however he delivered arguably the toughest hit of the season to then-Bruin Anders Bjork and may be capable of add a bodily dimension to his sport…if inspired.
There’s work to be finished on his d-zone protection for certain. However I believe he’s a greater all-around choice than Pettersson.
Cue the crickets. Watch the tumbleweeds blow down Fundamental Avenue. There’s no quick assist organizationally between the pipes. Alex D’Orio posted stable numbers for the Child Pens (2.18 GAA in 11 video games) however he’s pinballed between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Wheeling throughout his temporary profession and it’s an enormous stretch to say he’s big-league materials.
Whereas promising, latest draft picks Joel Blomqvist and Calle Clang are probably years away.
*You’ll want to try Rick Bukers books,
out there at TriumphBooks.com,