The Pittsburgh Penguins may have to get creative this summer
Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey NOW: When a team backs themselves into a corner, they really do. The Pittsburgh Penguins are no exception. Pittsburgh has a limited cap space of about $1.6 million provided they bury a forward. That would give them 13 forwards on the roster.
Ron Hextall admits Pittsburgh will have to get creative.
“As I’ve said (to the media) numerous times, we’ll look to upgrade at any position. If we can upgrade on defense, we’ll certainly look at it. We don’t have much wiggle room in terms of cap space, so we’d have to get creative,” Hextall said. “But I think Freedy (Mark Friedman) and Chad (Ruhwedel) are both guys that we feel can certainly playing in the league along with a guy like Juuso (Riikola) and P.O. (Joseph).”
Again, this could push Mark Friedman into the lineup. Hextall acknowledges he is looking to upgrade at any position. However, options are quite limited and the general manager has shown to be patient rather than be impulsive.
The expectation is that Hextall waits for something to fall into his lap in September or early October. Until then, everyone waits.
Some more of the unsigned, unrestricted free agents
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: Again, this is the time of year where patience becomes a virtue and demands err AAV tend to lower. The frenzy has calmed but there are some unrestricted free agents out there with intrigue.
The New York Islanders’ free agents seem signed and the wait will be likely a long one. As for Tuukka Rask in Boston, the expectation is that he can be signed once he is recovered from offseason surgery. There is no timetable yet.
Jason Demers is an interesting possibility but he will certainly not earn $4.5 million. Expect a more team-friendly deal later rather than sooner for the UFA defenseman.
Nikita Gusev expects an offer or two to come in but does have the KHL to fall back on and they will offer the former leading scorer there some dollars.
Ryan Donato is an intriguing case and a team could swoop in closer to training camp and scoop the forward up. He has some intriguing 5 on 5 numbers that could shine in the right locale.