I thought it would be important to bring back the discussion of big free agent forward Shane Doan, who his agent says, has received an offer from Pittsburgh and has shown interest in playing with the Pens.
According to capgeek.com, the Penguins have plenty of cap space to make a sizeable offer to Doan. Even with Steve MacIntyre listed on the NHL roster the Pens still have just under $10 million in free space.
Money isn't the issue, however, there is one major problem that could prevent them from signing that big name winger to play with Sidney Crosby.
By my count the Penguins are nipping at the heels of the 50-man NHL contract limit. If you include the three restricted free agents (RFA's) yet to re-sign with the team, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Grant and forward Eric Tangradi, and discard defenseman Scott Harrington's contract since he will be heading back to junior hockey in Canada, the Pens have 49 guys under NHL contract for the 2012-13 season. The RFA's re-signing appears to be a formality type thing. The deadline has passed for RFA's to sign but GM Ray Shero is on vacation so no official news has been released yet.
Simply put, adding Doan without moving someone else will give the Penguins no wiggle room for mid-season acquisitions. In years past, Shero has gone into the season with at least 1-2 spots open on the 50-man limit.
This leads me to believe that in order for the Penguins to add Doan, they will need to make a trade to move some guys out of the organization or lose someone on waivers.
To end with a AHL perspective, guys like Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Benn Ferriero and some other "tweener" players would need to clear waivers to play in the AHL next season and could easily be claimed by another team, which would effectively give the Penguins some more roster space.
I'm in the thinking that the Penguins would rather get something, such as a late round draft pick, for a guy like Strait or Bortuzzo than lose them for nothing to another NHL club. Time will tell but it's certainly safe to say that the WBS Penguins are done in free agency, outside of adding a guy or two on an AHL-only contract.
Thoughts on Shane Doan?