Pittsburgh Penguins Free Agency: To Sign or Not to Sign?

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Feb 19, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Maxim Lapierre (40) speaks with linesman Brian Murphy (93) as he takes a face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Blue Jackets won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Maxim Lapierre

Max Lapierre lived up to his reputation as a playoff performer when the Pittsburgh Penguins faced the New York Rangers in round one.  But, you have to contribute all year, not just in the spring.

When Jim Rutherford traded Marcel Goc to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Maxim Lapierre, both players involved were struggling to produce with their respective teams. The Penguins gave up very little in Goc, but did sacrifice better shot suppression abilities.  Rutherford cited Lapierre’s ability to perform in the post season as a big reason for the move.

While many in the hockey world have started to discount the intangibles due to analytics, Lapierre proved that while possession stats and analytics are crucial in effective analysis, the ability to frustrate an opponent and put the attention on you instead of your stars is still important.  Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t have the supporting cast for Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for them to take advantage.

Considering Lapierre’s performance in the regular season, I see no reason to resign him.  Let him walk.  You can fill his roster spot with a more productive defensive-minded center.  The thought that you need energy guys, or aggravators on your fourth line is nonsense. If you’re stuck on that theory then use Bobby Farnham there. But, I’d recommend looking for folks that can contribute. Remember the fourth line on the 2009 Stanley Cup team?