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

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Mar 15, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) shoots and scores against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) as Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (10) defends during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Detroit won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Ehrhoff

Christian Ehrhoff’s $4 million contract became a huge burden on the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I couldn’t quite grasp the need for a defenseman at that price considering the young defensive prospects that this team had in the organization.  But, after seeing Brian Dumoulin and Scott Harrington struggle a bit when called upon, I came to terms with the signing.

That was before injuries started to keep Ehrhoff on the shelf, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins with little cash for roster movements.  Granted, part of the issue was Jim Rutherford’s cap management and willingness to let the coaching staff reinsert Ehrhoff into the lineup too early.

They should have used long-term injured-reserve immediately with him knowing that the possibility of him not being 100% existed.  They would have been outside the ten game window at the end of the season and could have called up reinforcements.

It will be wise for the Pens to let Ehrhoff hit free agency this summer.  They need to use their young defenseman and stick with a young, cheap, and talented defensive corps. If they want to bolster that area with a $4 to $5 million defenseman again, shoot for Cody Franson.  He addresses needs that the Pittsburgh Penguins have on defense, rather than simply giving them another puck-moving blue liner.