I admit that I did not want Shero to waste a resource to bring Alex Kovalev back to Pittsburgh. His age was one major factor, his likely salary demands another. But I must admit that Kovalev has done a lot to refresh our stagnant offense over the last two games. He's mostly played well. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been out for so long that I have already forgotten what a gifted passer could do for a team. If Kovalev continues to play as he has played so far and if he's willing to take a cap friendly salary from a team like Pittsburgh, I'd like to see him return next year. Naturally, Kovalev must accept a small salary in order to win another Cup.
The 2011-12 lines could look like this:
Neal - Crosby - Kunitz
Tangradi - Malkin - Kovalev
Cooke - Staal - Kennedy/Dupuis/Johnson
Godard/Rupp - Vitale - Adams
The players whom the Pens would need to find a spot: Dustin Jeffries and Mark Letestu. I'm also assuming that some of the veterans will not return. Max Talbot could be one. Pascal Dupuis another. Both, however, are key parts of the Penguins' league leading penalty killing unit. But Joe Vitale and Craig Adams, Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal should be sufficient to man the penalty killing units.
Anyway, here's a poll: