Tuesday, June 24, 2008

As some doors close, others perhaps open

We now know that Gary Roberts is looking to move on from Pittsburgh, Ryan Malone is less than a week away from about a $5 million a year offer that can't hope to be matched and Marian Hossa is interesting in at least testing the waters....

But there's other options out there. If the Pens lose important players to free agency they will inevitably be signing others to fill the gaps around their talented nucleus to continue to momentum built in the past two seasons in becoming a perennial contender.

An interesting story has developed out of Toronto: Darcy Tucker has been bought out. On one hand, Tucker is a 33 year old cast out from a struggling team. He plays a grinding game that has surely seen his best years past and his production has fallen each post-lockout year. But on the other hand he still is a player that plays a gritty game (reminsicent of a guy like Roberts or Malone) and still scored almost 20 goals last year on a lackluster squad.

We're not saying the Pens will or should sign Tucker, but it's not too hard to imagine him signing a Petr Sykora-esque deal in terms of money (~$2.5 million) and years (2). Tucker has the physicality and grit to play on an excellent 3rd line with guys like Jordan Staal, Max Talbot and/or Tyler Kennedy....But he also has the experience, sense and hands not to be totally out of place to open up room on the top two lines for Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

So chin up Pens fans....The news in the past couple days hasn't been favorable, with Hossa breaking off contract talks, Malone ready to be released into the sea of free agents, no significant news in signing important players like Brooks Orpik, Georges Laraque or Pascal Dupuis...But in the flurry of activity about to break in early July, there will just have to be as many good stories of new beginnings as there will be endings.

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