Pittsburgh Penguins: Free Agency Prices Rising Above What the Pens Can Afford


With every minute leading up to the draft, it seems that the Pittsburgh Penguins may be getting priced out of the upcoming free agent market. More and more players are being inked to deals, either with their previous team or a team that their rights were traded to, and the prices are quite inflated.

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When the offseason officially started for the Pittsburgh Penguins Jim Rutherford stated that any upgrade at wing would likely come via trade. It’s starting to look like he’s spot-on with that assessment, as the Pens aren’t in a position to overpay like other teams have already started doing.

I recently wrote that Carl Soderberg would be a great fit for the Pens if Brandon Sutter was traded this summer. I assumed he would come in at approximately $3.5 million or upwards of $4 million. Well, I judged this market incorrectly, and he signed with the Colorado Avalanche today for 5-years with a cap hit of $4.75 million. In my opinion, that’s a very steep price for him, and clearly something the Pittsburgh Penguins could not afford as he doesn’t address the most glaring need in the top-six.

Mike Fisher also re-signed with the Nashville Predators today on a 2-year deal worth $4.4 million annually. Fisher is a very good player, but he’s 35-years old and has only eclipsed 50-points once since entering the NHL in 1999.

The question comes down to what guys like Drew Stafford, Jiri Tlusty, and Michael Frolik will be asking for. The Pittsburgh Penguins need an impact top-six player, and there aren’t many of them available via UFA. Those that I’ve mentioned will likely start a bidding war. As teams are permitted to speak with agents of impending UFA’s beginning today, we know that at least ten teams have spoken with Frolik’s camp.

With all of the rumors and speculation swirling today, there’s a possibility that Jim Rutherford and the Pittsburgh Penguins feel obligated to make a move via trade. There’s no way anyone within the organization can look at the free agency situation this summer and feel comfortable with what’s to come.

The Pens have already started reaching overseas, as they’re planning to sign Sergei Plotkinov and maybe Viktor Tikhonov. But, banking on Plotkinov panning out and Kasperi Kapanen filling a top-six role could be a long shot. Both are very talented and seem to fit perfectly, but who knows what happens once they get into the grind of an 82-game NHL season.

It’s becoming more and more clear that the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t find their top-six answer in free agency this summer. The time is now to make something work, and I fully anticipate that Rutherford knows that. But, can he do so without completely mortgaging the future?

Next: Pens Weekly Rumor Round Up - Draft Day Rumblings

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