What do Penguins do now?

After signing Paul Martin and Zybnek Michalek on July 1, the Penguins have been fairly quiet since.

They signed two forwards, Ryan Craig and Brett Sterling to minimal deals which have, according to CapGeek.com, left the Pens with about $2.1 million left to spend.

One thing to keep in mind, whoever the Pens sign will have to agree to a one-year deal. After this season, the Penguins will have 6 forwards under contract, including Eric Tangradi, who has not even played a full season professionally and is still under an entry level contract.

Pascal Dupuis, Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy will all be looking for new contracts after this season. The Pens are not going to have the money to pay all three of them, especially Talbot, who I feel will want a big contract if he has a better season this year than last.

So the real question is, where do the Pens go from here? They need to sign a winger to a deal around or under $2 Million for one season. That makes you assume that they will be targeting a veteran winger who wants one more run at the Stanley Cup.

Their options:

Bill Guerin

(’09-’10… 21G, 24A)

What a picture.

PRO’S: Guerin is loved by the Penguins players, management and fans. Everyone knows this. He was instrumental in the Cup run a year ago. He wasn’t the greatest player on the ice, but he was a fantastic leader off the ice and brought the Penguins a loose presence. He has played with Sidney Crosby and developed chemistry with him. He doesn’t miss a lot of games (4 last season) and is pretty durable.

CON’S: Towards the end of last season, Guerin seemed to break down a bit. He had problems keeping up with Sidney Crosby. He will be 40 in November and you have to wonder if he can keep up with Crosby for another 100 possible games.

Paul Kariya

(’09-’10… 18G, 25A)

PRO’S: Just a great player throughout his career. HOF type numbers.A bit younger than a guy like Guerin (35) and has played much less hockey than Guerin in the last couple of years playing with St. Louis. Has always been a well-respected player, especially in Pittsburgh for some reason (All of my friends, including myself, growing up loved Paul Kariya). You have to think he could play on Sid’s wing and flourish in a secondary type of role with the team.

CON’S: Money. Kariya made $6 Million last season. He would have to take, at least, a $4 Million pay cut to play with the Penguins. Kariya isn’t going to get a $6 Million contract other places, but you could understand someone giving him $3-4 Million possibly. So, does Kariya value a Stanley Cup enough to lose out on a couple million dollars.

Also, he has had some injury questions, but played 75 games last season, which followed an 11-game season the year prior. Before that he played three straight 82-game seasons.

My Vote

This is tough. While my heart is telling me to stick with Billy G, my head is telling me to go with Paul Kariya.

Billy G slowing down towards the disappointing end of last season gives me concerns.

Kariya has not played anywhere close to the same amount of games that Guerin has. He has the age factor on his side and has yet to win a Stanley Cup, which will motivate him to another level hopefully.

Kariya playing with Crosby and Kunitz would be an awesome. Crosby’s playmaking ability, with Kunitz’s physicality and Kariya’s vision, experience and intelligence could be really dangerous.

I don’t want to see Billy G leave. He’s become one of my favorite player’s the last couple of seasons, but I feel like his time has come unfortunately. Hopefully though, if he is re-signed, he proves me wrong.


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