Pittsburgh Penguins Free Agent Frenzy: Frolik, Franson, St. Louis, Semin, and More


July 1 is sure to be one of the craziest days of the year for hockey fans, as free agent frenzy kicks off. The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for options at wing, but so are a lot of other teams and this market screams overpayment.

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We all know of the recent reports by Josh Yohe at DKonPittsburghSports.Com citing that the Pittsburgh Penguins will target Michael Frolik when free agency opens. I like Frolik as a player and see him as a good fit, but considering the bidding war that will surely take place the Pens need to be extra cautious. Frolik will likely be a third-line winger within two years as Kasperi Kapanen and Daniel Sprong prepare for the NHL. Kapanen may even be able to play top-six as early as next season.

That means that paying Frolik $5 million over the next five years will not be a wise move on the part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We should have information on whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins are indeed the landing spot for Sergei Plotnikov from the KHL fairly early tomorrow. They’re also interested in Viktor Tikhnov, which would add some much needed skill to the bottom six. Tikhovov is reportedly mulling through a list of teams and is expected to narrow it down later today.

If the Pens are able to sign both Russian wingers, that decimates my interest in Frolik even more. At that point, I would hope that they turn their attention to a cheaper option that can still produce like recently bought-out P.A. Parenteau. They could likely sign Parenteau to a one or two year deal for a fraction of what Frolik will cost. The type of production he’s capable of at that price is something that would be extremely valuable for a team in their situation.

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard rumblings that there is mutual interest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Martin St. Louis. Well, I think we can finally squash that, thankfully. There is no room on this team for a 40-year old veteran that saw the kind of drop-off St. Louis did last season.

Oh, and that goes for Sergei Gonchar as well. Bringing back Gonchar would serve no purpose for the good of this franchise. I’m a huge Sarge fan and appreciate what he did here, but this is no time for retreads.

Speaking of addressing the defense…

It was reported by TheScore.Com that the Pens are interested in Cody Franson. Franson, above all other UFA’s this summer, is the only player the Pittsburgh Penguins should be willing to go long-term with for over $5 million per year. I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity like some others, as I feel that there is time to address issues that arise with their young defensive corps via trade throughout the season. But, I’d love to see Franson in the top-four alongside Pouliot, unless DP’s traded of course.

Lastly, Alexander Semin has been placed on unconditional waivers with the purpose of buying out his contract. This is really big news for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as he’s a great fit for what this team is looking for. It’s a gamble, but at the right price it’s a gamble that Jim Rutherford needs to take.

I’d sign Semin for anything in the ballpark of $3 to $4 million and cement him alongside Evgeni Malkin. Remember the need for a dangerous right-handed shot on the power play? I wrote about Semin two months ago as a possible trade target, but this buyout just made things a whole lot more interesting.

The question is, will he stay in North America as opposed to getting a big pay day in the KHL?

Today should be calm for the most part, unless of course a trade occurs which is very possible given the start of free agency tomorrow. According to Darren Dreger of TSN, teams are in trade mode, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, but nothing is imminent.

Of course, keep it here as we’ll get any news on the site as quickly as possible. And, be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael29Angelo, as I’ll continue to keep everyone up to date on happenings with the Pittsburgh Penguins and around the league.

Next: Jim Rutherford's Patience is Serving the Pens Well This Offseason

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