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2009 NHL free agency: What the Pittsburgh Penguins should do

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(Part of a SB Nation league wide series)


2009 NHL Free Agency: What The Penguins Should Do

Pending UFAs: Ruslan Fedotenko, Petr Sykora, Robert Scuderi, Hal Gill, Philippe Boucher, Miroslav Satan, Mike Zigomanis, Mathieu Garon

Pending RFAs: Ben Lovejoy, John Curry

Salary cap space: Approx. $5.5 million

Projected budget: $56.8-million

Key needs: Pittsburgh needs to add Top 6 winger or two and at least one Top 4 defensemen, while still squeezing under the already looming salary cap. In the past, GM Ray Shero has gambled on free agents with warts -- like guys coming off an injury filled seasons -- in order to get cheap options on short-term contracts. Expect him to scan the market and do the same, it'll likely be another patchwork of forwards running with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin until home-grown winger prospects grow into NHL roles in the coming years. The Pens will make a push to re-sign Ruslan Fedotenko and Rob Scuderi, but it remains to be seen if either can be lured back with less money in Pittsburgh compared to offers they will get on the open market.

With the Pens current defensive makeup, they figure to benefit from a physical or "crease-clearing" defenseman moreso than adding another "puck-moving" defenseman. Pittsburgh also doesn't have any proven depth in net behind Marc-Andre Fleury (who's missed significant parts of the past two seasons with injury), so it's probably a good idea to seek an experienced veteran for the #2 or #3 goalie, so the organization has a safety net in case Fleury misses more time.

Potential targets: Fedotenko, Ales Kotalik, Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Knuble, Chad LaRose, Steve Sullivan, Radek Dvorak, Scuderi, Greg Zanon, Nick Boynton, Steve Montador, Garon, Joey MacDonald

What our rivals want: Philadelphia Flyers: (Broad Street Hockey), Washington Capitals: (Japers Rink)