#91 / Center / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sep 11, 1980
Mike Comrie's officially a Penguins, which means we will all, for good or bad, see the occasional boxed seat camera shot of Hilary Duff cheering in the crowd.
But on a personnel level, this move is just what the Penguins needed. Priced just right ($500K, a tremendous discount from last season's $1.25 mill in Edmonton), Comrie will likely play right along with Sidney Crosby and more or less "resurrect" his career, for lack of better terms.
Since registering 60 points with the Coyotes in 2005-06, Comrie's play has been on the decline, and his resume has certainly added a few employers along the way.
In 06-07, Comrie split the season with Phoenix and Ottawa, tallying 45 points over 65 games before losing to the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup Finals, 4-1. The Islanders picked him up off the market in 07-08, where he played until 08-09 when a trade sent him back to Ottawa. Edmonton brought him back to town in 09-10, where he registered 13 goals and eight assists in just 43 games. He was on the injured list for three months with...mono.
If he's looking for a place to potentially win a Cup, he's found it. We've seen a number of players over the past three seasons take significant discounts for the chance to raise the hardware (Ruslan Fedotenko, Bill Guerin, Jay McKee to name a few). Although he's been in the league since 2000, this also poses as a good opportunity for him to raise his stock again for a potentially bigger contract with another club in 2011-12.
No sense in getting too far ahead of ourselves though. Overall, this is a solid, dirt-cheap signing for the Pens. It may shuffle a few lines here and there, but this ultimately means that Sid has more weapons to work with.
After the jump, Derek from Copper N Blue chimes in on the signing.
Here's what Derek Zona from Copper N Blue has to say:
Mike Comrie's game has changed significantly, but he remains an extremely effective even strength player. He only signed with the Oilers last year after they agreed that he would play left wing, not center. His time in Edmonton was limited by a bout of mono, but Comrie's role was as a left wing, and his time was split nearly evenly between playing Edmonton's toughest minutes and Edmonton's easiest minutes. His two most common linemates last season were Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton's tough minutes center and second in Oiler qualcomp, and Zack Stortini, Edmonton's agitating right wing who was last among all forwards in quality of competition ranking.
Comrie ran into some bad luck last season, even by Edmonton standards. Edmonton had the league's worst goaltending in 2009-2010, but even then, they put up the third worst even strength save percentage behind Comrie, which skewed his +/- somewhat significantly.
Dennis King of MC79Hockey tracks scoring chances for the Oilers and I compiled the season totals in a post earlier in the summer. Notice that Comrie tracks really well among the forwards and his -8 differential is very solid on that team.
Comrie has slowed down with age, but he's become a cerebral player, capable of winning the puck and moving it in the right direction without a big hit or contact. He remains an excellent passer and loves to get to the net to find his goals. Comrie's not a strong power play option, but his even-strength play should be an asset to the Penguins, no matter who centers him. It's a great signing by Ray Shero, in my opinion.
Also, Mike will find himself a willing combatant sometime early in the season and endear himself to Pittsburgh fans for a very long time. It might be hard to believe, but Mike Comrie is easily the best lightweight fighter in the NHL over the last decade -- and it's not close.
Which led to this fantastic quote when he was asked if he's ever hit anyone as hard as he hit Scott Nichol: "Not counting my older brother."