Hutchinson Signs With KHL's Barys

Friday, June 17, 2011
Andrew Hutchinson will also be taking his talents overseas, as the offensive defenseman signed with Barys Astana of the KHL today, according to this website. Hutchinson had a great start to the 2010-11 season with the Penguins but a knee injury that he never seemed to recover from slowed him down as the team entered the stretch run.

After the jump, a look at the defensemen left that are up for free agency in two weeks.

With Hutchinson and Wagner both leaving the organization, Corey Potter is the only solid option to bring back to an already talented blue line. With seven defensemen signed in the NHL next season and an AHL blue line that could potentially feature Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait and Carl Sneep, Potter could be the veteran presence they need.

Jason DeSantis and Joey Mormina played okay in a more limited role, but shouldn't be offered NHL contracts in 2011-12. Here's the defensemen signed through next season that project to the AHL level:

Simon Despres, Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Carl Sneep, Alex Grant and Philip Samuelsson
As you can see, a pretty talented blue line that lacks some experience. Of the in-house options remaining, Potter is the best fit. The Penguins could always wait until July 1st to see who is available, but then again Potter could wait and test the market to see if he can get a better offer elsewhere.


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