NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 05: Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and teammate Zbynek Michalek #4 of the Pittsburgh Penguins play the puck against Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on February 5, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
After losing out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, GM Ray Shero should avoid chasing many of the remaining free agents.
After Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed identical 13-year deals with the Minnesota Wild, many Penguins fans are left wondering what's next now that their dreams of seeing Parise play alongside Sidney Crosby, and the Suter stabilize a shaky defense, are shattered. Fingers are going to be pointed. Stones will be cast. Replacements will be named. And someone will inevitably utter the name "Alexander Semin." Thankfully, the Jaromir Jagr option is off the table. In any case, I'd like to offer my own strategy for GM Ray Shero.
Just stop. Look at the names of those still unsigned. Hardly anyone to get worked up about. Who's available? The mercurial Semin? The geriatric trifecta of Doan, Arnott, and Langenbrunner? No thanks, I'll pass. Ray Shero is a bright guy. He'll add a few role players here and there. Maybe he'll take a flier on someone like Peter Mueller. But the rest of the free agency pool is uninspiring. The best option may be keeping it in house and bringing some younger forwards up from the AHL.
After losing out on Parise, many fans will call for a trade. Rick Nash is available. So is Bobby Ryan. Please. Before that debate even starts, let's realize the Pens don't have the willingness or the assets to pull off such a move. And I won't even mention the fact that Rick Nash would be a horrible fit for many reasons. A midseason trade is more likely, and it won't be for Nash or Ryan.
Personally, I'd like to see the Pens fill out the roster with some role players and go into battle with a healthy Sidney Crosby, the league MVP Evgeni Malkin, and 40-goal-scorer James Neal. With the talent currently on the roster, the Pens are a playoff team. When the trade deadline comes, the Pens will be in a position of power. They'll have cap space and defensive assets to move for a forward or whatever other pieces they need.
Ray Shero won't panic, Pens fans, and neither should you. So let's wait it out and see what happens. Remember, the core is still in place, and it's pretty darn talented. Parise wasn't the last free agent on earth and next year's class is just as good. Besides, I think Corey Perry would look much better in a Pens sweater than Zach Parise.
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