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Finding skill wingers outside of the organization

In a piggyback from Frank's piece yesterday about internal players that need to step it up, let's take a look at players around the league that might be changing teams in the next couple weeks.

Everyone knows the Penguins need to add a skill winger (or three).  But who is potentially out there that could be added to the lineup?


This list is compiled from what I feel is the best fits down to the reaches.  Of course the Penguins won't get all of these guys--heck they probably won't acquire any of them-- but it is a nice list to start with..



G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Martin St. Louis 19 31 50 7 8

Martin St. Louis

Contract status: Cap hit of $5.25 million, signed through 2010-11

--Given the Penguins salary structure, if they somehow got to acquire St. Louis it would likely mean that one of Ryan Whitney ($4m), Jordan Staal ($4m) or Sergei Gonchar ($5m) are either involved in the deal or definitely going to be gone before next season, with Whitney being the overwhelming favorite there.  From Tampa Bay’s perspective they don’t seem to have much of a reason to trade St. Louis, but given their management’s erratic decisions that makes it all the more likely that it could happen.

St. Louis with Crosby would be electric; Marty knows a little something playing with superstar centers from his time with Vinny Lecavalier.  And while St. Louis’ speed and skill would fit in everywhere, he’s got a great low-key demeanor and veteran presence that would be great to have in the room.


G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Milan Hejduk 20 20 40 -9 8

Milan Hejduk

Contract status: Cap hit of $3.9 million, signed through 2009-10 

--Hejduk showed off some awesome hands during the NHL skills competition, he’s definitely still got it.  Colorado’s virtually out of the playoff picture this year and while they’d probably like to reload and come back strong next season maybe they’d waiver for the right package.

Could you even imagine if Shero could add a former 40 goal scorer in Hejduk to the Pens for this season and next at the reasonable rate of $3.9 million?  That would be a game changer.

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Marek Svatos 12 13 25 3 26

Marek Svatos

Contract Status: Cap hit of $2.05 million, signed through 2009-10

 --Svatos only has 12 goals and 13 assists this season and will be unrestricted in summer 2010.  Maybe Colorado feels it’s time to move on with him.  If so he could be a good fit for the Penguins, despite being under-sized one thing he does is score goals.  In all of Svatos’ 5 NHL seasons he’s scored more goals than he has registered assists (except in 2006-07 when he tied).  While he isn’t the best passer, his scoring touch and willingness to shoot would probably work on a line with a guy like Crosby who’s always looking to dish.


G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Keith Tkachuk 17 17 34 -10 39

Keith Tkachuk

Contract Status: Cap hit of $4 million, unrestricted after this season

--For a team looking to add some veteran leadership, they could do a lot worse than Tkachuk.  And with his 34 points this season on a weak team it means Tkachuk wouldn’t just be the second coming of John LeClair for the Penguins, it seems like the 36 yeard old has a little gas left in tank.  Tkachuk has also been solid on faceoffs this season, winning 52.9%, which is much better than any regular, healthy centers the Pens have.

Tkachuk would likely be a "rental" for the Penguins and as Atlanta could tell you, that doesn’t necessarily ensure success in the second season.

G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Antoine Vermette 7 12 19 -11 38

Antoine Vermette

Contract status: Cap hit of $2.76 million, signed through 2009-10 season

--Vermette, I feel, has always been a guy with a lot of potential but has never cracked through.  And he is still relatively young, so perhaps Ottawa has him in mind to rebuild around.  However if they’d be willing to listen, I’d love to see if Ray Shero could bring Vermette to Pittsburgh to play in a scoring role.  What an addition he would make to the Penguins as a running partner with Crosby.


G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Steve Sullivan 0 4 4 -7 10

Steve Sullivan

Contract status:  Cap hit of $3.2 million this season, UFA this summer

--Coming from Nashville, Ray Shero knows about Steve Sullivan.  He's got a lot of skill and the speed to keep up with Crosby or Malkin.  Of course there are huge question marks about him--Sully's coming back from a career-threatening back injury and overall has played just 219 games in the past five seasons.  Furthermore, his comeback this season has been very Ryan Whitney-esque; Sullivan is goal-less (with 4 assists) in 13 games and has a wretched +/- of -7, so it's not exactly like he's lighting it up right now.

But Sullivan is a guy who scored 60+ points in four season in the pre-lockout hook-n-hold era.  He's got some skill if he can actually stay on the ice.  Plus since he is something of damaged goods and an impending free agent, perhaps it wouldn't cost that much for Shero to get him from his friends in Nashville, that are four points out of the playoffs and fading.



G A P +/- PIM
2008 - Maxim Afinogenov 2 10 12 -14 12

Maxim Afinogenov

Contract status: Cap hit of $3.5 million, unrestricted free agent this summer

--Afinogenov has taken up permanent status in Lindy Ruff’s doghouse and it seems like irreparable damage has been done between player and team.  But at issue is Afinogenov’s groin, he could be finished for the season.

Afinogenov’s pure skill would be amazing to watch him dangle out there with either of the Penguins’ top centers.  And although there have been questions on his work ethic and reliability, I think bringing Afinogenov into a place where his two Russian comrades Gonchar and Malkin are team leaders and some of the hardest workers would straighten him out.

Also, even if Afinogenov could be healthy enough to return, it’s unlikely that Buffalo would want to trade him to a team in the conference that is chasing them for a playoff spot…That’d be kinda like selling matches to an arsonist.


So there you have it, a list of guys who could be available if the Penguins are willing to meet the price.  I'm pretty much assuming that Shero is going to have to deal Alex Goligoski and probably throw in a prospect or pick into the mix.  I'd love to see Goose stay with the Pens but you have to give something to get something and the Penguins need to leverage the amount of puck moving defensemen they have to bring in wingers that can finish--something they don't have enough of.

Did I leave any names out that could potentially be in the black and vegas gold come March?