The Penguins re-signed rugged winger Arron Asham to a one-year, $775,000 deal Wednesday – a move that almost surely ends Mike Rupp’s tenure in Pittsburgh but at the same time solidifies the team’s fourth line. I’m good with this deal. Asham’s as solid a fourth-line wing you’ll find in the NHL, and his contract is very cap-friendly. Rupp is the better overall player, but he comes with a much steeper price tag. Asham will give the Pens an honest night’s work every time he’s in the lineup, and he’s proven throughout his lengthy career that he can contribute offensively. Plus, he’s tough as nails and will fight just about anybody, and those are the kind of intangibles the Pens need.
I was ecstatic when the team signed Asham last offseason, but he was unfortunately derailed by a slew of injuries for most of the 2010-11 campaign. The Asham I thought the Pens were getting showed his true colors in the playoffs, where he scored 3 goals in the Tampa series. If he can stay healthy this season, Asham will be a nice fit alongside Craig Adams.
No Decision Yet from Jagr
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of the Jaromir Jagr sideshow. I wish he’d just make up his mind one way or the other. That said, I’ll gladly welcome him back to Pittsburgh if he chooses to put pen to paper on the team’s one-year offer. Visions of Jagr on the power play have been dancing in my head. Thoughts of him on Malkin’s wing put a smile on my face. Yeah, I’m thinking of a young, in-his-prime Jagr, but a man can dream, can’t he? Anyway, I’m of the opinion that #68 still has something left in the tank and that he’ll be driven by thoughts of a third Stanley Cup should he decide to return. I’m hoping he says “yes” to the Pens…and I’m hoping he does it before the weekend so we can move on with the rest of free agency.