Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Naslund interested in Pittsburgh return?

In what could finally lay those Alek Stojanov nightmares to rest, Markus Naslund apparantely would be considering a return to where his NHL career started in Pittsburgh.

Here's a link: (warning it's in Swedish) which we found by way of the wonderful HFboards.

Someone who apparantely understands the article (which has Crosby's name and a picture of the musatchioed man in it) relayed the following details that we've mashed together...

"What kind of guys I will play with, and what kind of hockey I will play
will be a big decision in my future.....I will play next season, the question is where...I feel very motivated to play in NHL" says Naslund and wont go back to Modo and Sweden

"Money is not the important part, I prioritize the social bit, what type of hockey the team is playing and what kind of players they have....With the uncertainty for the future it was the right decision to sell my house (in Vancouver)" says Naslund.

"Though it might not mean I wont return here"Naslund is an UFA july 1st.Source

"Of course it would be fun to play with Crosby," says Naslund.

Take this with a grain of salt, but it's certainly an interesting development. Talk is cheap and easy, it'll be more impressive if Naslund puts the pen to the paper and joins the Penguins.

However, the Pens (and their fans) should be aware this is a player in decline. His points total as slipped every season since the lockout. Last year he had 30 assists, his fewest in that category since the 1998-99 season. He's gained the reputation of a free-floating player away from the puck that doesn't have much interest in playing defense. As a team leader for the Canucks he hasn't delivered and at turning 25 this summer, Naslund is no spring chicken.

Let's not discount his talent though, this is a guy who scored 55 points this past season and would seem, if healthy to be a lock for 25-30 goals and 35-40 assists on a line with Crosby. Naslund, a natural left winger, would fit perfectly with Crosby. Both are good skaters, have a lot of skill and think the game well. Naslund is selling his house, which we think is significant; for whatever reason it looks like a move from Vancouver is in the cards...And Pittsburgh seems to be on his radar. He mentions money isn't important, but we don't think he's signing anywhere for close to league minimum. Still, the Pens should plenty of money short-term (before Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin extensions kick in for 2009-10) to accomendate at least a one year deal.

As usual all we have for you is a lot of speculation and not too much of actual action. But this is a development to definitely keep an eye on. It'd be getting a little ahead of ourselves to imagine a top like of Naslund-Crosby-Hossa next season, but wouldn't that be amazing?


Anonymous said...

lack of defense worries me a bit.

Hooks Orpik said...

Now is not the time to worry, as much could happen...Orpik could be re-signed or be let go, Sydor could be traded/bought out and Shero may or may not sign a UFA defenseman. It's a little early to be concerned since so much is yet to shake out.

Also we should have put a little more caution into this...Just because Naslund thinks it'd be fun to play with Crosby doesn't mean he'll be back in the black and gold. Throughout the years several high profile offense players (Brett Hull, Paul Kariya, etc) have publically mentioned wanting to play with the Pens and that obviously never came to be.