Pittsburgh Penguins Entry Draft Day 1: Offseason Plan Seems to Have Derailed


I’m not the type of writer that spends my time looking for negative topics to cover. But, Jim Rutherford and the Pittsburgh Penguins are making it difficult not to do exactly that following the first round of the NHL Entry Draft.

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In the weeks leading up to the draft, there were plenty of reasons for the Pittsburgh Penguins faithful to be optimistic about Rutherford’s offseason game plan. “We need to get younger and faster” was one of the more memorable statements from the GM, as it’s exactly what Pens’ fans wanted to hear.

At one point, Rutherford also mentioned that he had full support of ownership for buyouts, and could use one if needed. Again, music to the ears of Pittsburgh Penguins fans.

Today was a fun day for fans and those that cover the sport, as there was a ton of action. But, none from the Pens. Of course, there were plenty of rumors, but nothing came of them. No big deal, right? It’s still early in the weekend, and very early in the offseason and simply hearing that they are working to improve the scoring potency of this offense is better than what we’ve seen in the past.

That was until Josh Yohe spoke updated his piece from the floor of the draft for one last time before closing up shop.

The names of interest via trade for the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t change, as Phil Kessel and Jeff Skinner were mentioned once again. But, the following statements were quite concerning in regards to what may come of the Pens this summer.

One item of interest is that there is an outside interest in re-signing Paul Martin. To be honest, on a short enough deal, I’d be fine with that. Martin still has a lot to offer and can contribute at his age. But, then there was the “recently said that he was fine with Rob Scuderi returning”. What happened to the buyouts that you’ve been given the green light for?

Then came the names of interest via free agency, in which Yohe cited Joel Ward and Sergei Gonchar. What happened to “younger and faster”?

The Gonchar rumors have been around for a few weeks. I already discussed this topic, and I still don’t see any fit for him with this team. He’s no longer useful defensively and basically offers a power play quarter back, locker room presence, and nothing else. While he’ll likely come cheap, the Pittsburgh Penguins need players that come cheap and can contribute. Sergei Gonchar shouldn’t be considered for this team.

Joel Ward is coming off a solid season with the Washington Capitals and is reportedly looking for a four year deal. Keep in mind, Ward is 34 lacks the speed and skating ability to play alongside Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. Again, I don’t see how he fits with a team that’s looking to add youth and speed.

I’m not upset that Jim Rutherford didn’t make a splash today. If the right deal isn’t there, then don’t make it. If he’s remaining patient and looking for the right fit for this team, that’s great. But, based on the names that I just mentioned above, it sure sounds like things aren’t going as planned. Has the offseason game plan already derailed?

If Rutherford does indeed add names like Sergei Gonchar and Joel Ward then yes, it’s safe to say that things came unraveled. Rutherford has been right on the money when discussing what the Pittsburgh Penguins need this summer. I’m just not sure that he’s actually going to actually those pieces. Let’s hope that day two of the NHL Entry Draft brings Pittsburgh Penguins fans something to get excited about.

Next: Draft Day Poll - Would You Trade Pouliot, Kapanen, or Maatta?

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