The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading into next season with an iffy group of defensemen.
Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik are likely gone, Olli Maatta just had shoulder surgery and will miss the next 4-6 months, and there’s no telling who the team will call up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Some defensemen who will certainly be in the mix come September are Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot, and Philip Samuelsson. We can probably eliminate Pouliot, due to him undergoing shoulder surgery, which is disappointing. Still, the skaters at the blue-line are uncertain.
And that makes a compelling argument to re-sign Deryk Engelland, who is also an unrestricted free agent.
Despite being scratched every game in the playoffs, Engelland was valuable in multiple ways for Pittsburgh last season. Number one, Engelland was lined up on defense and offense, and didn’t miss a game because of an injury. For a team that had the most man-games lost by a mile, Engelland’s durability is a rarity in the ‘Burgh.
Number two, Engelland brings size. Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 215-pounds, Engelland was one of the marginal amount of players who can body an opponent. And for a team that struggled in being physical, Engelland is a player who will tussle when the time calls for it. Which makes me scratch my head as to why he was, well, scratched in the postseason, when the Pens needed a spark. Be it a fight or a huge hit, Engelland would’ve delivered.
Number three, considering Pittsburgh has a foggy interpretation of what their starting six defensemen will be, Engelland brings insurance. Insurance that in case somebody does get injured – which more often than not, they will eventually – Engelland is a guy that can slot in said player’s spot. And since he’s experienced at wing, as well as defense, Engelland provides flexibility. So, ailing forward or defenseman, Engelland’s capable of fulfilling each position’s role.
Alright, I don’t want to keep counting down, but the fourth, and probably most important reason to re-sign Engelland is he’s cheap. As Pens’ fans are well aware of, I’m sure, their payroll is obnoxiously bloated. Granted, they’ll gain some room to make a few moves here-and-there, but there will come a time when Beau Bennett and Maatta need new salaries. Preparing for the future is in the Pens’ best interest. Engelland is affordable.
I’d hate to see Engelland walk, because of all the little things he delivers. And I also found it puzzling he didn’t see not one game in the postseason, when Pittsburgh needed him most. Instead, Dan Bylsma rolled with Tanner Glass to add grit. Really, Bylsma? I mean, his last name’s Glass.
Engelland is a big, stout, tough defenseman the Pens could greatly use. If they re-sign him, let’s use him. Okay?
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins