Penguins Quietly Solidifying Their Organization
While most teams this off season have been talking to free agents and making headlines, one of the more media popular teams has slipped from the spotlight. The Pittsburgh Penguins have done a considerable amount of work this offseason, however I bet only a few of you know how much they have done.
First off, they have managed to sign some of their future stars. Dustin Jeffrey, Nick Johnson, and Ryan Craig have all been resigned. This is a small thing to some, but to the pens this is huge. They signed forward Nick Johnson, who I have described as a Parise like player, to a one year extension. He will most likely be seeing plenty of time on the right wing with either Staal or Malkin, at least I hope so. Jeffrey will continue his knee rehab and is expected to be participating in camp by the halfway mark. Ryan Craig is the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins Captain who has played a few games with the Pens. He is already 29, but is a serviceable call up for any game and situation.
Secondly, The Penguins have managed to resign forward Craig Adams. The winger/center has played three seasons in Pittsburgh now after being picked up on waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. He has signed a two year deal worth 650,000 a season. He may only average 4 goals a season, but his penalty killing has been crucial to the Penguins recent success. His cheap salary is allowing the Penguins to make a move for a better winger to play top line minutes. Many speculate that the Penguins will be resigning Pascal Dupuis shortly, but talk has been flying from places like Toronto who would like a versatile winger such Pascal. So the Penguins must move fast to resign him.
Lastly, the organization has changed over the past 5 years. When Sidney Crosby was drafted the Penguins wanted stability and depth within the organization. Since then the Pens have had some coaching changes, but a Stanley Cup and Stanley cup appearance speaks volumes into what they have tried to accomplish. This offseason the Pens have resigned every coach within the organization, including their strength and conditioning coach. Wilkes-Barre Scranton coaches were part of this deal where everyone received a multi year extension. This was an effort to build stability within the organization, so that movement from the Minors to the NHL could be smoother. One of the big reasons this can happen is because of the system that has been developed. Dan Bylsma created the system that is used in both the AHL and NHL Penguins, allowing for call ups to fit right in and play their game. The Pens want stability, they want to be the organization that others model. This is mostly in part to their loss in the 08 finals to Detroit. They expressed how much they want to be like Detroit's organization and for reasons that don't need to be said.
The Penguins also signed former player Bill Guerin to become the head Coach of Player Development. Bill had expressed his liking for the organization and said immediately after retirement he would want to join the organization. It was a great move by the Penguins to keep around a guy with a knack for leadership and coaching. It doesn't hurt that he is a well known guy throughout Pittsburgh's organization and seems to be a fan favorite everywhere he goes.
Currently there are no rumors into who the Penguins will sign free agent wise, but Ray Shero has already stated that Jagr, Kovalev, and Comrie are not getting a phone call to return. The talks with Tyler Kennedy have been halted and many are unsure whether or not he will sign as well. Thanks for the read folks and enjoy the cup finals!