The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to be losing a ton of players via free agency this year and that will leave a ton of holes in this lineup. They may sign a few to keep that are irreplaceable but they can replace a lot of the players via free agency. Who are the top three free agent targets for the Penguins? Let’s see.
3. Mason Raymond
Raymond is one of those players who a lot of people don’t bring up since he’s been sub-par this year. He was signed to a one year contract last July by the Leafs for $1 million, which is really cheap for a guy who can score over 20 goals a season.
Pittsburgh could use him since a lot of their bottom six is probably headed out of Pittsburgh such as Marcel Goc, Lee Stempniak, Tanner Glass, and Joe Vitale. Stick Mason Raymond on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Beau Bennett and this is one of the best third lines in the NHL. They’re dealing with salary cap issues but I think they can easily get this deal done since he will come cheap.
2. Steve Ott
This may come to a surprise to all of you but I think they can use Steve Ott in a big way. For years the Penguins have not had the kind of player that can score goals, play tough, and hit someone who goes after star players like Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
During the playoffs this year, Sidney Crosby got knocked around by Brandon Dubinsky and no one did a thing about it. Also, in the New York series, Marc Staal gave him cheap shots to the head and still no one did anything about it. If Steve Ott came in, he’d be sure to be an enforcer and go after players like Staal and knock them around. We’ll see if Pittsburgh goes after him even though he may not be cheap.
1. Nikita Nikitin
Nikitin has just come off a good season with Columbus where he played as a top six defenseman each night. He could be used a lot in Pittsburgh since pending free agents Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen are seeking big money and may not be coming back.
Nikitin can come on the cheap and can play with Olli Maatta or Rob Scuderi. Pittsburgh could put him with Robert Bortuzzo as well. We’ll see what Jim Rutherford will do in free agency, which is right around the corner.