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RIP Craig Adams' Penguins career, 2009-15

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Pittsburgh Penguins management has told Craig Adams he will not be brought back for the 2015-16 season.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Craig Adams era as a Pittsburgh Penguin is over. Per Dave Molinari of the PG:

The first step toward sculpting the 2015-16 Penguins was taken when management informed right winger Craig Adams, whose contract is expiring, that he will not be brought back.

It's not a surprise, being as Adams was a healthy scratch for all 5 of the playoff games this spring, but it still is closure.

Adams, who just turned 38 a couple of days ago, was brought to the Pens on March 4th, 2009 as a waiver claim from the Chicago Blackhawks. Adams played in all 24 of the Penguins run to the Stanley Cup that spring, scoring 3 goals and adding 2 assists, which seemed to forever endear him in the eyes of former general manager Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma.

Shero started a tradition in the summer of 2009 (and would continue in 2011 and 2013) of giving Adams 2 year contracts for near the league minimum salary. Why a marginal, replaceable player like Adams required a 2 year contract, we might never know, rewarding "loyal soldiers" was always an issue for Shero.

Unfortunately, that scoring touch from 2009 would dry up- as Adams only scored 18 goals (and 53 assists) in 453 career games as a Penguin. Adams ranks 19th all-time in franchise history for career games played, and is the Penguins "iron man" holder for consecutive games played.

The lasting image of 2014-15 for Adams might be a practice where he aggressively hit top prospect Derrick Pouliot and then got in a fight with superstar teammate Evgeni Malkin, after Malkin had accidentally high-sticked Adams in the jaw enough to draw blood from his mouth.

Other than that, Adams will be remembered as a 4th line staple who didn't tangibly contribute much, but somehow kept on surviving year-after-year anyways. Best of luck to him for whatever is next.

With Adams' departure, there will be only 7 players remaining (Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, Rob Scuderi and Pascal Dupuis)  on the Penguins from their 2009 championship team.