HP Hockey's Free Agency LIVE BLOG: #Pens & #WBSPens Prepare For Day 1

Friday, July 5, 2013
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UPDATE ( 1:05 p.m. EDT):

There were rumblings this morning from TSN's Darren Dreger that former Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi was likely heading back to Pittsburgh. Well, now it's official.

The Penguins have signed Scuderi to a 4 year deal worth $13.5 million. Scuderi, 34, appeared in 48 regular season games with the Los Angeles Kings last season, posting one goal and adding 11 assists.

More on the signing and what it means for the Penguins here: Pens Sign D Rob Scuderi to Four-Year Deal

UPDATE (10:00 a.m. EDT): Teams can officially begin to sign unrestricted free agents today at noon, EDT. I understand the thought that Penguins won't be all that active in free agency. From an NHL perspective, they have all the major pieces. With the active NHL roster limit at a 23-max and two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 11 forwards (including RFA's) already on the roster, there's only room for 3 guys on the NHL squad.

But in reality, and including all remaining restricted free agents in the organization, the Penguins will only have 38 contracts that count against the max limit of 50 that teams are allowed to sign up to.

Typically, GM Ray Shero leaves himself with a little cushion to the 50-max contracts limit as most GM's do to allow for trading purposes. So let's say that Shero holds 3-5 spots for in-season moves. That still means the Penguins organization will be signing 7-9 hockey players to NHL contracts this summer.

The kind of players signed will likely be to fill some depth and create battles for certain roles in the lineup. Which brings me to the organization's needs at both levels.

NHL Penguins Team Needs
  • 1-2 bottom-six forwards to challenge guys like Zach Sill and Harry Zolnierczyk
AHL Penguins Team Needs
  • 3-4 forwards, preferably veteran-type and/or top-six capable.
  • 2-3 defenseman, especially veteran defenseman to help stabilize and give direction to the younger prospects
  • Some AHL-only deals for more depth at both the forward and defenseman position

So with that, let's take a look at a preliminary AHL depth chart on what the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins roster looks like heading into free agency, including all RFA's that were tendered qualifying offers earlier this week:

xxxxxx - xxxxxx - xxxxxx
Kuhnhackl - Gibbons (RFA) - Thompson (RFA)
Zolnierczyk (RFA) - Sill (RFA) - Uher
Zlobin - Megna - Payerl
Dumoulin - Samuelsson

xxxxxx - xxxxxx
Harrington - McNeill
Ruopp - D'Agostino

Zatkoff - Hartzell
I'll continue to post new signings at the top and slowly file them in chronological order as the day's events unfold. These are just the basics and will be pushed after the jump when news begins to unfold.

For now, after the jump is an organizational depth chart made by yours truly. I'll be updating the chart as the day goes on, referring to it and re-posting it in the coming weeks as well. 
Organizational Depth by Position

Some quick notes:
  • Restricted free agents that have been tendered qualifying offers (RFA)
  • Names in bold are those "bubble" guys that have at least some sort of outside chance
  • Derrick Pouiot and Olli Maata aren't AHL eligible. It's either NHL or back to juniors.
Forwards (21)

Sidney Crosby
Evgeni Malkin
James Neal
Pascal Dupuis
Chris Kunitz
Beau Bennett
Brandon Sutter
Jussi Jokinen
Dustin Jeffrey (RFA)
Joe Vitale
Tanner Glass
Harry Zolnierczyk (RFA)
Zach Sill (RFA)
Steve MacIntyre
Brian Gibbons (RFA)
Paul Thompson (RFA)
Tom Kuhnhackl
Jayson Megna
Adam Payerl
Dominik Uher
Anton Zlobin

Defensemen (13)

Paul Martin
Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik
Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres
Deryk Engelland
Robert Bortuzzo (RFA)
Brian Dumoulin
Olli Maata (NHL-only)
Scott Harrington
Derrick Pouliot (NHL-only)
Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill
Harrison Ruopp
Nick D'Agostino

Goaltenders (4)

Marc-Andre Fleury
Tomas Vokoun
Jeff Zatkoff
Eric Hartzell (RFA)


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