Pittsburgh Penguins: Jay McClement Adds Well-Needed Depth

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 17: Jay McClement
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 17: Jay McClement /

On Friday, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed centre Jay McClement of the Carolina Hurricanes to a professional tryout contract.

It’s not a secret that the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking desperately for a third-line centre. After Nick Bonino left the team as a free agent to sign with the Nashville Predators, that third-line centre role has been open for the taking.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Now don’t worry, Jay McClement is most likely not our answer for that position. But after Bonino’s departure, we also lost the services of Matt Cullen. Our depth down the middle is looking very thin, and a fourth-line centre in McClement is still very necessary.

What does he bring?

McClement is a spectacular fourth-line centre who can surely bring a lot to our team as a replacement for Matt Cullen. He is great defensively and quite good at faceoffs, hovering around 50% over his career for his faceoff percentage.

We don’t have Matt Cullen anymore and the pickings for centres seem slim nowadays. GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he values McClement’s faceoff and penalty killing abilities. He also feels that McClement is a likeable veteran presence that can be handy on this roster.

Does he affect the chances of acquiring a third-line centre?

Even if Jay McClement makes the team, it does not look like he influences the search for a third-line centre.

Rutherford commented about the search in the same article with the Post-Gazette. 

"“We’ll continue to work on it,” Rutherford said. “There’s a few options there. We’ll see what happens here in the next little while. But, again, it’s what I said all along. If there’s somebody that we feel fits what we’re looking for, we’ll do it. If not, we’re going to wait until that time comes.”"

Next: Bold Predictions

It looks like the Penguins are still actively looking for their Nick Bonino replacement. McClement is a well-needed addition and really helps us beef up the middle.