Subtract like likes of Gary Roberts, Georges Laraque, Ryan Malone and Jarkko Ruutu and a club loses a lot of size and toughness.
The Penguins took a step to add some back by signing free agent Matt Cooke. The contract itself appears to be a cracker-jack one for the team, if initial reports are true (two years, $1.2 million per season). Cooke made $1.5 million the past three years and seemed to earn that. He's a scored 10+ goals in six of the past seven seasons (and the missed season was injury shortened to 8 goals in 45 games). Compare that to Ruutu's 2 career ten-goal seasons.
Cooke has been said to have received more money elsewhere (Ruutu got more per year from Ottawa and an extra year) but chose the Penguins. A good sign, as the Pens can certainly use the grit and the addition of a reliable penalty killer. Cooke doesn't have the yapper that Ruuts does, but then again hardly anyone chirps as much as Ruutu. Cooke is very uptempo, very aggressive and still a pesty player that gives a lot of effort and seeks out hits.
Roberts and Ruutu emerged as cult heroes and it seems like Cooke is destined to follow, given his style of play. That and there's already a nickname: the Cooke-y monster. It's a competitive world to start a trend, this blogosphere.
Twist our arm for a roster outlook and here's what we've got in early July, all very subject to change...
Obviously the forward lines could be different, Max Talbot probably isn't a consistent top 6 NHL winger, Janne Pesonen may or may not be the answer there. But it's looking like the 3rd line that will have a lot of energy to go with some size and skill some with whatever combination of Pascal Dupuis/Tyler Kennedy/Talbot/Cooke emerges to go with Jordan Staal. But there's plenty of time for those questions.