You May Have Heard the Penguins are “All In,” Now with Jarome Iginla

iggy

We don’t need to waste a lot of time on this post, you all know what happened, and if not check Twitter for #WakingUpToIginla. Jarome Iginla is now a Pittsburgh Penguin. Perhaps one of the most heroic players in the league in the last several decades Iggy is just an all around stud addition, and the best part? Still no changes to the NHL roster, the Pens gave up their first round draft pick and two promising, but secondary caliber, prospects.

The best read you can possibly get on the trade comes from the Puck Daddy himself Greg Wyshinski. Read it here. Profound thoughts especially coming from a Devils fan right here:

If Jay Feaster is now The Man That Traded Jarome Iginla, then Ray Shero is The Man That Traded For Jarome Iginla. And Brenden Morrow. And Douglas Murray. And James Neal. And Bill Guerin. And Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. And all of the other additions to the Penguins through the years that earned them annual success, two conference titles and a Stanley Cup.

If Calgary Flames management seems like a rudderless vessel adrift at sea, the combination of Shero, owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle seem like an unsinkable battleship. The assemblage of talent on the 2013 Penguins makes them one of the deepest and most star-studded teams in recent memory.

Also Shero’s comments about what Iginla told him after the trade was made are unbelievable.

SHERO: I just talked to him after the fact. That was it. He agreed to waive and come to Pittsburgh. The trade conference call was done with the league. Everything was final. That was it. I talked to him a while ago after it. He said he was excited to come to Pittsburgh. He said he would help anyway he could, didn’t care about role or who he was playing with. He wants to help the team win and be a part of it. It was a big change after 16 years in Calgary so I’m sure it will be quite emotional. We have a month sort through the emotions, find some roles for guys, players accepting of those and playing good hockey. The team on paper doesn’t mean too much. We have to do it on the ice. Chemistry for a hockey team is very important.

Stoked above reason now that I see that kind of comment from Iginla.

The Pens are all in. Shero has literally built a team better than what anyone in the NHL probably thought possible in the salary cap era. Seth Rorabaugh contends that Shero will go down as an all-time great GM IF the Pens win the Stanley Cup, for our money he’s already there. Mere mortals can’t do what he’s done. In Shero we trust.

Ray-Shero-watching-practice

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Penguins Add Douglas Murray, The Whole Eastern Conference is Already In Pain

San Jose Sharks Media Day

Another Cup winning move from Ray Shero today to bring in Douglas Murray, who we were pretty keen on last week in our discussion of possible trade targets. If Brenden Morrow draws analogies to Billy Guerin and Gary Roberts, Murray has to draw comparisons to Hal Gill: is he going to be the Pens best defender? Hell no. Is he going to be a good fit and add some much needed grit to the bottom pairing? Hell yes.

Murray’s not as tall and rangy as Gill but he’s more physical, he’s purpose built to clear out trash in his own zone. Unfortunately, also like Gill he’s not the fastest skater, but in hindsight how often did you actually say, “Man, Hal Gill is killing the Pens with his lack of mobility,” and for what its worth HCDB has already said he plans to skate Murray with Niskanen, someone who doesn’t want for foot speed.

The cost for Murray is this year’s 2nd round pick and a conditional second or third round in next year’s draft, contingent on whether the Pens re-sign Murray or not. Again this is the Penguins giving in order to get but there are two things that make this trade worthwhile: its important to remember that the Pens had TWO first round picks last year, and that management is really big on Pouliot AND Maata, and the Pens already picked up an extra third round pick in this draft. Now assuming that the Pens are able to make a deep playoff push this year and assuming the Stars trade off a few more veterans and plummet in the rankings and earn a lottery spot, what is the big difference between a late second rounder and an early third? In a league like the NHL the difference tends to be pretty small.

And it’s all shaping up nicely for the Pens. Paul-Mart and Free Candy will continue to take on the toughest assignments, the new unit of Murray-Niskanen can hopefully move into silent shutdown mode–you don’t notice them every shift and that’s a huge compliment–akin to the vaunted Scuds-Gill pairing of ’08 and ’09. From there you have Kris Letang and any number of other dynamics: if the Pens need another solid, safe defenseman, Mark Eaton gets the call, if they need some added muscle Deryk Engelland all day, and if by chance they need more offense, that’s why they have Simon Despres.

Of course there is one more defensemen on the Pens current roster, Robert Bortuzzo, and we have no idea what the Pens plan to do. We promise you this, if the Pens put him through waivers, he won’t make it. We would also prefer that the Pens not trade him, although the Pens grow offensive defensemen on trees in Wilkes Barre, the same can’t be said for defensive defensemen. So what is there to do? Well the Pens can send Despres back to the minors, but that’s unlikely… They probably wouldn’t get anything to trade away Mark Eaton or Engo… So could the Pens be gearing up for another move? One that would require the Pens to move someone else? But who? Are we on the cusp of a blockbuster trade? Are Brooks Orpik or Paul Martin in their last days in a Pens’ uniform?

We have no idea, nor do we really think it’s happening, but nonetheless it is impossible to predict what will happen next. For now you should just sit back and watch it unfold. It’s gonna be awesome. Some more about Murray after the jump…

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Shero’s Shopping List, Part 2: Forwards

Ray-Shero-watching-practice

April 3rd marks the NHL trade deadline, for what it’s worth the Pens  will literally have 10 regular season games left after that date. As such there will be a real premium on rental players–teams will want to give up as little as possible from their core and receive as much as they can in return, even if the investment will only be for the length of the playoffs. Further, it seems obvious to us that the price for rental players will necessarily be high for a number of reasons, first, the salary cap will contract next year, so teams are not worried about trying to resign guys with expiring deals. Two, this will probably be the last time that teams can try to buy their way to a championship for a few years. And three, why not? With guys like Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar and other future Hall of Famers presumably on the market what will stop contenders from making huge moves?

This week also marks the annual GM Meetings which is supposed to be a time for the GM’s to weigh in on possible rule changes, but really is a carefully contrived opportunity to lock all the GM’s in a room and make them talk to one another. Some of the biggest publicity for the league comes during a crazy trade deadline, and after a slow deadline last year the NHL doesn’t want to risk a repeat so you just know that things will be interesting.

What follows is our list of guys that, if we were King Shero, we would be inquiring about during these meetings. We have organized the post into two parts: defensemen and forwards. Our viewpoint is that the Pens need two players, a shutdown defender and a bottom-six forward. There’s no guarantee that either will happen and certainly we aren’t opposed to the Pens zeroing in on Jarome Iginla or Chris Stewart if the price is right, but we’ve already discussed what Beau Bennett has done for the top-6 forward complexion moving forward, not to mention that the biggest offensive addition the Pens can make is a healthy Evgeni Malkin, as such, those guys aren’t essential pieces for us right now.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shero’s Shopping List, Part 1: Defensemen

Ray-Shero-watching-practice

April 3rd marks the NHL trade deadline, for what it’s worth the Pens  will literally have 10 regular season games left after that date. As such there will be a real premium on rental players–teams will want to give up as little as possible from their core and receive as much as they can in return, even if the investment will only be for the length of the playoffs. Further, it seems obvious to us that the price for rental players will necessarily be high for a number of reasons, first, the salary cap will contract next year, so teams are not worried about trying to resign guys with expiring deals. Two, this will probably be the last time that teams can try to buy their way to a championship for a few years. And three, why not? With guys like Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar and other future Hall of Famers presumably on the market what will stop contenders from making huge moves?

This week also marks the annual GM Meetings which is supposed to be a time for the GM’s to weigh in on possible rule changes, but really is a carefully contrived opportunity to lock all the GM’s in a room and make them talk to one another. Some of the biggest publicity for the league comes during a crazy trade deadline, and after a slow deadline last year the NHL doesn’t want to risk a repeat so you just know that things will be interesting.

What follows is our list of guys that, if we were King Shero, we would be inquiring about during these meetings. We have organized the post into two parts: defensemen and forwards. Our viewpoint is that the Pens need two players, a shutdown defender and a bottom-six forward. There’s no guarantee that either will happen and certainly we aren’t opposed to the Pens zeroing in on Jarome Iginla or Chris Stewart if the price is right, but we’ve already discussed what Beau Bennett has done for the top-6 forward complexion moving forward, not to mention that the biggest offensive addition the Pens can make is a healthy Evgeni Malkin, as such, those guys aren’t essential pieces for us right now.

Read the rest of this entry »