On Draft Day 2012, the Penguins made a huge splash by dealing Jordan Staal to Carolina for Brian Damoulin, Brandon Sutter, and the #8 pick in the draft. That same day, they also traded reliable defensemen Zybnek Michalek. Other than those two transactions, the Penguins haven't done much this summer.
After failing to sign both or either Zack Parise or Ryan Suter, it seems as though the Penguins have decided to allow their young talent to compete for their jobs. In this climate of free agency, you don't hear too much about teams doing what the Penguins have decided to try.
Eric Tangradi, the centerpiece in the Ryan Whitney trade in 2009, will be competing for a spot in the Penguins' top-six. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson reported Tangradi is in the best shape of his career and is definitely expecting to show he can be a top six forward on the Penguins' roster this year. And with the departure of Steve Sullivan to free agency, there is a spot available.
The same could be said for the young defensive prospects the Penguins have acquired over the years under GM Ray Shero. So much so, Ray Shero required a defensive prospect from Carolina in the Jordan Staal trade. Adding D Brian Damoulin only makes the competition for the last defensive spot out of training camp more interesting and intense. Along with Damoulin, there are other highly touted prospects ready to make the leap to the NHL; Simon Depres, Carl Sneep, Joe Morrow, Scott Harrington and Robert Bortuzzo just to name a few. All of these young defensemen have impressed the Penguins organization at various levels. Thusly, the Penguins are willing to create a situation whereas the most hungry and talent defenseman will get a shot with the Penguins this year.
It would be ridiculous to suggest the Penguins would've enjoyed the prospect of putting a young defenseman or a right-winger who has yet to prove himself as a top-six forward more than signingn Zack Parise or Ryan Suter. But, I believe it's a pretty good back-up plan...which potentially leaves the Penguins with cap room.