Looking at where the Penguins stand right now, in terms of roster composition and salary cap implications, things aren't great, but they aren't dreadful either.
They are in a position where further re-tooling can take place, primarily through free agents leaving, without needing to blow up the team.
Daniel Winnik, Maxim Lapierre, Blake Comeau, Craig Adams, Christian Ehrhoff, Paul Martin, and Steve Downie are all unrestricted free agents that could be coming off the books for the Penguins. The only two restricted free agents are Beau Bennett and Ian Cole. They are both making minimal dollars and their qualifying offers will come in low as well.
Let's take a look at how the current roster is constructed, in terms of a usage chart from War on Ice
More good than bad to focus on here. If the Penguins buyout Rob Scuderi, as Jim Rutherford expressed he had the authority from ownership to do, the Penguins back-end on defense is in a good situation. Raw, green, young, or whatever else you want to call it, but good, young, and skilled, it definitely would be.
Nick Spaling and Brandon Sutter stand out in these situations from their poor possession numbers. If management can replace Blake Comeau and Daniel Winnik with affordable free agents and/or implement Kasperi Kapanen, Oskar Sundqvist, Scott Wilson, etc from Wilkes-Barre, it would do more of the same on defense, adding speed and youth.
When Rutherford spoke yesterday, he said that management would be limiting the number of one-way and NHL-only contracts being given out, to keep from blocking the path to the NHL for prospects like Kapanen and Sundqvist. They will be given their fair chance to make the team in training camp.
We're potentially looking at a forward composition of
- David Perron, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist
- Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Kasperi Kapanen
- Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter, Beau Bennett
- Nick Spaling, Oskar Sundqvist
- Kris Letang, Olli Maatta
- Derrick Pouliot, Ian Cole
- Ben Lovejoy, Rob Scuderi
- Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington