An area of frustration for the Pittsburgh Penguins has to be focused around the defense. This offseason could host huge free agents in that role, with one in particular worth looking at.
What better way enhance your defensive capabilities than to sign a Stanley Cup champion who is a veteran leader on his current team. Alex Pietrangelo is just that, and the Pittsburgh Penguins should pounce on him if and when he becomes a free agent this summer.
The now 30-year-old is coming out of his prime and will surely be winding down over the next few years, but currently, he’s still pushing out massive performances. Much like Kris Letang, Pietrangelo is known for his offensive abilities and would fit in well in the Pens backline.
In his 70 games played this season, he’s scored 16 goals, assisted 36 times, and is averaging just over 24 minutes of ice time each time out. Consistency has been vital with him because, over the years, his stats have stayed the course as the 4th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft has been doing it ever since coming to the league.
He is the type of defender that every team will be the lookout for, but he needs to be higher up on the Penguins radar with the rumors of Justin Schultz, joining Pietrangelo in the free agency pool. Consider it a one for one swap with the Pens coming out on top in the defensive tango.
Besides his two-way defensive abilities, he has an even more needed skill set that the Penguins should be drooling over. There no secret that they are frustrating more than just themselves over the lack of finishing as of late, and Pietrangelo can bring a needed grit and determination to get the Pens over the hump in late-game situations.
Signing this NHL vet wouldn’t be a long-term end-all to fix-all, but it would give the Pens youngsters time to grow while keeping the starters in-line. The NHL is getting faster and more offensive every year, so to keep the Pens current, this free-agent signing would be just the ticket to keep them relevant and looking for another run at the Cup.