PDA

View Full Version : Pens Free Agency



Prosdo
07-01-2010, 04:02 PM
PENGUINS STRENGTHEN DEFENCE WITH MARTIN AND MICHALEK

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed free agent defencemen Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek to five-year contracts after failing to reach terms with Sergei Gonchar and Dan Hamhuis.

Martin, 29, was viewed as the top two-way defenceman available in free agency, except for Gonchar. He had two goals and nine assists in 22 games with Atlantic Division-rival New Jersey last season, missing most of the year and the Olympics after breaking his left arm Oct. 24 in Pittsburgh.

His most productive season was 2005-06, when he had five goals and 32 assists in 80 games.

Michalek is not a point man on the power play like Gonchar -- he had three goals and 14 assists in 72 games with Phoenix last season -- but plays a lot of minutes and is strong in the defensive zone. His deal runs though the 2014-15 season and averages US$4 million per year.

After the Penguins were eliminated by Montreal in the second round of the playoffs, general manager Ray Shero put an emphasis on improving the team defensively. Michalek, at 27, is nine years younger than Gonchar, who missed more than three-quarters of the Penguins' 2008-09 Stanley Cup-winning season while injured. Gonchar also missed 20 games last season.

Shero traded a third-round pick to Philadelphia for the negotiating rights to defenceman Hamhuis, but he didn't come to terms on a deal before the NHL free agency signing period began Thursday.

Gonchar, who spent the last five seasons in Pittsburgh, signed a three-year contract with Ottawa after the Penguins refused to budge from their offer of two seasons.

Michalek led the NHL in blocked shots with 271 in the 2008-09 season and has 27 goals and 88 assists in 415 career games. He also played for the Czech Republic in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He had a career-high 28 points with four goals and 24 assists in 2006-07 with Phoenix.

LINK: http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=326250

Wish Gonchar the best of luck in Ottawa. I will always be a fan of his. Glad to see Shero quickly rebound in bring in two very solid defensemen.

Black@Gold Forever32
07-01-2010, 04:29 PM
Wish Gonchar the best of luck in Ottawa. I will always be a fan of his. Glad to see Shero quickly rebound in bring in two very solid defensemen.

I didn't think Gonchar would be back......But I'm with I will always be a fan of Sergei....He helped this team to two Stanley Cups (winning one) and always seem to come up with big goals at key moments in games (especially on the power play)......

Shero is a very good GM....His track record speaks for itself.....Wish the Pirates could get somebody like him.....:lol:

Prosdo
07-01-2010, 05:29 PM
I think with Gonchar gone Gogo will take his place on the power play. Supposedly the Pens are in the mix for winger Ray Whitney, but they don't have a ton of cap room left. So I expect to see some of the young guys from the baby Pens come up and play.

steelersbabex25
07-01-2010, 08:08 PM
I was really upset when I heard Gonch was gone. He's great on the power play (most of the time) and he's done a lot for the the Pens. However, if he had to go I'm glad they could pick up 2 great players in the process. I wish him luck.

LarryNJ
07-01-2010, 08:11 PM
That's a great move, every Pens fan should be ecstatic! Our weakest link last year was the D, now we have the best D we've had in many many years. Best of luck to Gonch but we are younger and stronger in every aspect except on the point on the PP.

Props to the GM! We now have 2 superstars, a franchise goalie, 4 very good D-man and the best 3rd line center in the league who's also a great D-forward. If somehow Shero can pull a winger out of his butt he is truly a God!

Black@Gold Forever32
07-01-2010, 08:32 PM
That's a great move, every Pens fan should be ecstatic! Our weakest link last year was the D, now we have the best D we've had in many many years. Best of luck to Gonch but we are younger and stronger in every aspect except on the point on the PP.

Props to the GM! We now have 2 superstars, a franchise goalie, 4 very good D-man and the best 3rd line center in the league who's also a great D-forward. If somehow Shero can pull a winger out of his butt he is truly a God!

I agree the defense should be much improved next year......Pens drafted a winger in the first round but he is years away from contributing....

BlacknGold Bleeder
07-01-2010, 10:34 PM
Gonchar was good when he was able to play, he was just getting injured too often and getting older for a 3 year deal. It's time to let Gogo and Letang step up,both have a ton of upside and have benefited greatly by playing with and watching Gonch for a few years.With the addition of these other 2 defensemen the Pens should be set for a few years !!

Prosdo
07-01-2010, 10:44 PM
Well Ray Whitney was signed by the Coyotes I believe. They are still talking to Billy G seeing if he will come back.

LarryNJ
07-02-2010, 08:45 AM
Do we have a chance to get Lee Stempniak than? That would rock!

Prosdo
07-02-2010, 04:10 PM
Mark Eaton is now an Islander. So far no signings today.

steelersbabex25
07-05-2010, 03:00 PM
Here's a really nice Q&A with Gonchar about his career in Pittsburgh. Nice to see how much he's gonna miss it there.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_688898.html
Sergei Gonchar is not sure what he will miss most about Pittsburgh.

"It has not hit me yet that I will not be back," he said Friday from his offseason home in Miami. "Ask me in a few months when I am not there every day."

Gonchar, 36, signed a three-year contract that totals $16.5 million with the Ottawa Senators within 30 minutes after the NHL free-agent market opened at noon Wednesday.

By autographing that offer sheet, he ended a five-year career with the Penguins. The notable numbers: 54 goals, 205 points, a Stanley Cup and a pivotal role mentoring fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin.

During an exclusive interview with the Tribune-Review, Gonchar referred to the Penguins as "we," the Senators as "them" — catching his mistake only at the end.

"It is a business, and it will be my job to adjust, and I will," he said. "I can tell you it will not be easy for me to leave. When I talk to my grandchildren about playing in the NHL, I will start with playing in Pittsburgh. It was like I started a new career there."

Did you enter last season thinking it would be your final year with the Penguins?

No. I always thought we would get a deal done. Even at noon on Wednesday I thought we would get a deal done. It was tough because I wanted to stay there. We won a Cup together. We had great chemistry, and I thought we had a shot to win more.

How often did you talk to Evgeni Malkin about your contract situation, and when did you talk to him after signing with Ottawa?

It was tough for me to call him and say, "Oh, OK, I'm with Ottawa — goodbye." It was not like that, but we did talk on Wednesday. He understands from both sides, I believe. I talked with a lot of my teammates or heard from them by text message before Wednesday, and after; it was not just Evgeni. I heard from Sidney (Crosby) and Max (Talbot). I had great relationships in Pittsburgh. That won't change.

What did Malkin say when you told him you were leaving?

(Laughs) I can tell you, but only in Russian.

There was no shortage of interested teams, so why the Senators?

Well, it is a Canadian city. You know how Canada is with hockey; playing up there is something special. If I was going to leave, I wanted to go someplace where hockey really mattered. Also, we played against them a lot in the playoffs and I do believe they are a good team. They played us very tough in the playoffs. They are very close to winning the Cup, and I believe I can help them go that next step.

The Penguins weren't willing to give you a third year, and a lot of people believe their reluctance was the sensible move.

Yes, I can say before you ask that it motivates me. My goal is not to play just until that third year. I want to play in the NHL until the (2014) Olympics. They are in Russia, and I would love to be there for my country. Three years was never going to be the end of my career.

How do you view your legacy with the Penguins?

You (media) guys can decide that. I never thought about it, and it is tough for me to judge right now. Everything was so quick. I woke up a Penguin on Wednesday and just after noon I was with Ottawa. Maybe in a year or two you will have a good answer to that question, you will write something and I will let you know if I agree or disagree.

I can say now you were one of the most impactful players in franchise history, but I'm curious if you believe playing a vital role in the Penguins' revival was important for your hockey legacy?

I honestly have never thought one second about that. What I will remember is playing for a first-class organization that treated me and my family well. What we had in Pittsburgh was a great atmosphere, great friendships and, for me, special teammates. That is why I wanted to stay.

Your start with the Penguins was rough by your own admission. Fans warmed to you, but some of them said you shouldn't be re-signed. They were unhappy with your performance in the Game 7 loss against Montreal. What is your last message to them?

Thanks for everything, and I mean that. The first year I was not as good as I would have liked to be, and I would like to say to them thank you for getting over that. They turned around and cheered me, and the people were always kind to my family. All that energy at the (Mellon) Arena — I had never played with home crowds excited for hockey.

LarryNJ
07-05-2010, 03:38 PM
We'll miss Sarge but it was time. Class act, hard to believe he was onetime a Crapital! :)


What did Malkin say when you told him you were leaving?

(Laughs) I can tell you, but only in Russian

I'd really like to know the answer to that. It was great to have him take Geno under his wing for a few years. I'd have to guess Geno looks at him like a father.

steelersbabex25
07-05-2010, 04:53 PM
I'd really like to know the answer to that.

Kind of reminds me of this clip..at about 50 seconds.
"Yeah from what Gonch and Fedotenko tell me, yes he's extremely funny."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb3pN8SZ5nQ

LarryNJ
07-05-2010, 05:26 PM
Fans warmed to you, but some of them said you shouldn't be re-signed. They were unhappy with your performance in the Game 7 loss against Montreal. What is your last message to them?

WTF kind of question is that? Rossi is an A-hole. But as usual Gonch was classy in his response.