Hello Hockeybuzz world!
My name's Andrew - I am a hardcore Pittsburgh Penguins fan, obviously very excited for our Cup win this past year and in general happy about the direction of our team! I am also a fan of the Phoenix Coyotes (YES, PHOENIX... not any other city, thank you). I live in a small suburb of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area that is within 15 miles of Jobing.com Arena. I had season tickets for two years and I plan on going to quite a few games this year or signing up for mini-plans again.
Anyway, getting past the introductions. Here is my opinion on the off-season so far for the Pens.
Penguins Off-Season (So far)
The Penguins started their off-season as the Stanley Cup Champions. It really can't get too much better than that other than multiple championships. The front office was somewhat busy in the following weeks, inking both Craig Adams (2 years/550k per) and Bill Guerin (1 year/2 million).
Then came the re-signing of Ruslan Fedotenko (1 year/1.8 million) and the draft, where the Pens picked up a solid defenseman with the 30th pick, Simon Despres. He will be a top-4 guy a few years down the road (Letang - Orpik, Despres - Goligoski, future Top 4). The signings of Mike Rupp and Jay McKee could prove to be solid acquisitions. Considering that McKee will probably man the 2nd pairing with Letang, this takes the load off of Eaton who some still feel could be injury prone even after last season. The Rupp signing is a solid 4th line signing, to take Zigomanis/Talbots spot on the 4th line since Talbot's move to the 2nd line RW in the playoffs.
Speaking of Max Talbot, his surgery was a success and he should miss 1-2 months of the season. As far as getting a replacement for him, here are my favorite options: 1. Go into Camp with Tangradi, Caputi, and Kennedy fighting for that 2nd line RW job, whoever wins get it. OR 2. Move Kennedy up to the 2nd line RW and insert Dupuis as 3rd line RW, putting someone like Dustin Jeffrey in Dupuis' old spot. I would rather not bring in any free agents to fill the hole (Satan would cost too much, Sykora has stated his opinion on Bylsma and needs to go buy some tampons) considering that Talbot will not be out too long, it just doesn't make sense to bring in a temp from outside the team.
What I expect to come out of training camp is a team who will be gritty and determined to make another Finals appearance. We have the two best players in the game, Bill Guerin who would love to add another Cup to his resume' before retiring, and plenty of role players who are hard working energy guys such as Kennedy, Talbot, and Kunitz. Not to mention Jordan Staal, who is the best 3rd line center in the NHL!
Andrew's Opening Day Lineup Prediction #1
Kunitz - Sid - Guerin
Fedotenko - Geno - TFK
Cooke - Staal - Dupuis
Jeffrey - Rupp - Adams
Gonchar - Orpik
McKee - Letang
Eaton - Goligoski
x. Lovejoy (maybe)
Curry or FA/Trade Backup (Dan Ellis?)