Pittsburgh Penguins: Grading the Penguins Signings So Far

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate an empty net goal by Carl Hagelin
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate an empty net goal by Carl Hagelin /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have made quite a few moves already since free agency opened up.

With so many free agents available, the Pittsburgh Penguins had to work strategically to sign the best fits. While some of our players left to join other teams, we also added some new faces. So let’s take a look at them and how good of a signing they are.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Antti Niemi

Grade: B

Honestly, this isn’t a fantastic signing, but it’s not a horrible signing either. With Marc-Andre Fleury gone to Vegas, the Penguins knew Matt Murray would assume the #1 goaltender spot. But who would be our backup? Enter Antti Niemi.

Niemi is a good pickup, and at just $700,000 for one year, it’s a smart risk to take for a backup goaltender.

Justin Schultz

Grade: A

After the season he just had, we knew the Penguins needed Justin Schultz back. In the wake of Kris Letang’s injury that took him out for a good portion of last season,

Schultz stepped in as the new number one defenceman. He shined in this role and deserved every penny of his new pay check. This was an expected signing and it was smart from every angle.

Matt Hunwick

Grade: C

Honestly, we lost Ron Hainsey, Trevor Daley and Mark Streit. In return, we signed Matt Hunwick, who isn’t really up to par with any of these three.

Hunwick had some good games and some bad games in Toronto. He slots in easily as a bottom four defenceman, but he doesn’t seem to fill our immediate needs. He does have experience, but that’s something Toronto valued a lot more. It’s not exactly something our back-to-back Cup winning team prioritizes.

At $2.25 million a year, there may have been other defenceman out there I would have preferred our money to go towards.