The Pittsburgh Penguins have exactly 12 forwards, and I feel they need to pickup at least one more to stabilize the corps.
They, of course, can look within their organization to fill the insurance – one, Kasperi Kapanen for example – but there are a couple other options still available for Pittsburgh to work with.
Although they only have a little over $6.4 million in cap space remaining – per Cap Geek – and they still have to sign Nick Spaling and Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh can probably still afford at least one of these two free agent forwards, if they’re willing to accept a short-term deal – most likely a one-year commitment.
Mueller, 26, had taken a year off from NHL life, and ventured off to Switzerland, where he played for the Kloten Flyers in the Swiss National League A this past season.
In 49 games for the Flyers, Mueller compiled 46 points (24G, 22A), which was the best on the team, and the third-highest in the entire league. And his 24 goals were tied for tops in the SNL A, which was more than he ever scored in the NHL.
Selected 8th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Mueller’s always had the potential, it was just a matter of it all coming to fruition. However, Mueller’s never had the chance to display prominence because he’s missed a ton of games due to various ailments – most notably concussion issues.
Now that he seems relatively healthy, and can play both center and wing, Mueller could be a steal if Pittsburgh’s able to convince him to accept a short-term offer. And considering the Penguins long for anybody not named Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to help score, Mueller is a low risk, high reward investment.
His injury history is the only problem that may shy Pittsburgh away.
Penner, 31, is also an option.
Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 242-pounds, Penner is a whale of a guy; he’s a mammoth. And he’s a guy who will create a net-front presence, with a knack for getting the dirty goals – something Pittsburgh lacks.
Playing for the Anaheim Ducks last season, Penner racked up 32 points (13G, 19A) in 49 games while skating with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, which is the most he’s registered since he had 39 points in 62 tilts with the Edmonton Oilers in 2010-11.
Although his production slipped when he was dealt to the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline, Penner never really fit in with the Caps’ system, and therefore, never sustained his numbers that carried over from Anaheim. When given the opportunity with Pittsburgh, Penner could be that large, physical scorer they’ve been without over recent years.
If Penner was able to manufacture sufficient numbers in the much more grueling, Western Conference, he’s got potential to blossom with the Pens.
He brings a lot to the table, but it’s all about how much Penner demands.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins