Friday, July 2, 2010

Hamhuis and Leopold Sign Elsewhere

Not only did we lose Gonchar to Ottawa today, we were able to lock up 2 of the Top 5 UFA defenseman by signing Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin for five years each; we also lost a pair of defensemen (and a 2011 third-round draft pick) as well.

The Pens acquired the rights to Dan Hamhuis from the Philadelphia Flyers during the first day of the draft in exchange for a third-round draft pick in next year's draft.  It was never a guarantee that we would sign Hamhuis, but I believe it was probably worth the risk (a third-round draft pick isn't that much to give up).  Speculation that Hamhuis wanted to play closer to home was confirmed today with his signing with the Vancouver Canucks (a lengthy 6-year deal worth $4.5 million / year).

I traded for Dan Hamhuis with the intention of signing Dan Hamhuis. When that didn’t seem to be coming to fruition – and we tried really hard to sign him – we wanted to see what else was out there. We made it very clear that his best chance to be a Penguin was before noon (on Thursday).
It’s competitive to get defensemen when they are free agents. If I have to spend a third-round draft pick to try to get a step up on someone – which in the end we didn’t get Dan Hamhuis but we got two other guys. I had four days to talk to Dan Hamhuis and I didn’t have to spend time talking to him today. If I didn’t have that opportunity maybe I would have missed out on somebody.
-- Ray Shero, Penguins GM

With all the talk centered around Gonch and Hamhuis prior to today's free agency, not much has been heard about Pittsburgh's other UFAs.  Although, today was pretty quiet in terms of Pittsburgh signing players and players signing with other teams (as far as all the activity that could've taken place ... there are plenty of players that are still "up in the air" such as Mark Eaton, Bill Guerin, etc.).

Jordan Leopold was the only other player to sign a deal today.  He's now with the Buffalo Sabres for three years.

With only about $2 million left under the cap there's probably not much more the Pens / Shero will be doing (according to Rob Rossi, Shero will wait it out to see what's left / how to spend the rest of that money); however, I believe they took care of a major concern for the team by addressing the blueline in a BIG WAY which definitely makes up for what we "lost."


Val said...

Wingers, where are we on those?

Stephanie said...

They're not high on the list ... the goal was defense especially with losing Gonchar and that's what they got. With $2 million, they're not going to be doing much ... Guerin is still possible, but I'm thinking they're going to depend on bringing up AHL players like Tangradi who played pretty well with Sid!!!