After a disappointing end to a great season, the Pittsburgh Penguins management will be having a very busy off-season. There are many things up in the air, such as coaching and goaltending. With the new GM Ron Hextall, you can expect a few changes to come this off-season. Everyone knows what style of players he likes to bring in, as we saw firsthand with the addition of Jeff Carter at the trade deadline. From a fan’s view, you may want to just tear the entire team apart like Penguins Twitter has, demanding to trade Jake Guentzel or Bryan Rust. That is not a good move for this win-now Penguins team. This team has lots of potential left. They need to take advantage of the years Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have left. At some point, we’ll see regression. Until then, here are three upcoming free agents who could be a fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pittsburgh Penguins free agency watch will be interesting especially with new management.
Free Agents Who Fit the Penguins System
F Nikita Gusev
After a down year for the Russian KHL star, Nikita Gusev will be looking to bounce back. There will definitely be a few suitors for the 28-year-old who has a lot left to show. Gusev is a player who would excel on the Penguins second line featuring Kasperi Kapanen and Evgeni Malkin. His main attribute is his overall skill and creativity. On the line, you’d have speed in Kapanen, size in Malkin, and playmaking in Gusev. The Russian has shown that even with being undersized he can put up numbers in the NHL which was a common discussion among scouts. According to Evolving Hockey, his next contract cap hit is predicted to be around 2.4 million which is a good price for a player of his caliber that has proven to be solid production-wise. With Evgeni Malkin getting surgery the Penguins could be looking at some salary cap space available to them which in result would help in getting Gusev. All in all, Nikita Gusev would be a great addition to the Penguins offence. Fans should hope the Pittsburgh Penguins free agency watch includes this guy.
F Barclay Goodrow
When asked about how the Tampa Bay Lightning won the 202o Stanley Cup, Barclay Goodrow comes to many minds. He’s what you imagine when you think of a reliable winger. Not only can he play wing, but he’s also a guy you can depend on to win faceoffs at key points of games or make a hit to create energy. Another key is his ability to create high danger chances. In the 2019-20 playoffs he had nine. This season he also played at over a point per game. Goodrow is a heart and soul guy which the Penguins could definitely use. Pittsburgh could use him anywhere throughout the lineup. He would be a great addition especially with all the bad injury luck the team has. When injuries do hit, he would be one of the guys to move up a spot. He’s definitely like a second Jeff Carter for the Penguins who will bring along the defensive ability. According to Evolving Hockey, his next contract cap hit is predicted to be around 3.15 million which is a steep price but if the 28-year-old can step it up, he can become a valuable player for this team.
D Ian Cole
Ian Cole is a veteran who can provide a lot to your team when he’s relied on. He has the ability to get shots off with his quick release while also adding power due to his 6′ 1″, 225-pound frame. Previously playing under the Mike Sullivan lead team would also be an advantage. He was a key piece for Pittsburgh in their back-to-back cups. While playing gritty hockey, Cole has shown he can be a great overall shutdown defenseman. According to Evolving Hockey, his next contract cap hit is predicted to be around 1.152 million which is a good price for the cap-tight Penguins who would also be getting a shutdown defensemen in the process. In Minnesota, Cole didn’t get much ice time so he didn’t produce or have good numbers, the previous season in Colorado he excelled where he got tons of ice time. He shifted into becoming an overall two-way defenseman while also matching his career-high 26 points. Although he’s older, Cole could be a great addition for the Penguins next season as they make a run for the cup.
Embed from Getty Images