It's free agent eve, and though the Penguins aren't expected to do too much tomorrow, there's a couple interesting things floating around so why not pair it all together for a little summer afternoon article.
PHIL BRINGS STANLEY CUP TO TORONTO
Phil Kessel has officially chosen to host his day with the Stanley Cup in Toronto next month. The city remains his second home.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 30, 2016
Like 14-16 months ago, Maple Leafs fans could have only imagined this headline being true. Now, it is but it wasn't as a member of their team.
Quiet July 1
The Penguins aren't expected to be very active tomorrow, about the only thing they would want to do is sign Matt Cullen, if they can make the math work for their salary cap and give him a contract that he's happy with. Since teams can go 10% of the cap in the summer, they could always sign him now and look to move someone later. With a lot of depth forwards and 4th line options like Scott Wilson, Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl (and, presumably Cullen if he re-signs) there's not a lot of need on the surface for Eric Fehr and his $2.0 million salary, when a lot of those younger guys are a third of the price.
Would be interesting to see if the Pens feel the same.
This is all quite the contrast from last July 1, when Penguins world had the happy day of trading for Phil Kessel without giving up many major pieces. One year, after the dust has settled the only assets of value that Pittsburgh gave up were 2014 first rounder Kasperi Kapanen and the 2016 30th overall pick. Considering that TO also is retaining 15% of Kessel's salary for the rest of the deal, that only enhances the value.
Beau Bennett says farewell
Thank you Pittsburgh! pic.twitter.com/MOy5s1KK0C— Beau Bennett (@BeauBennett19) June 30, 2016
Nice to see him retain his sense of humor on the way out, it will be interesting to see how his career goes in New Jersey.
Rozsival back in the NHL in 2016-17
Chicago re-signed the soon-to-be 38 year old defenseman to a one year contract. This summer marks the 20 year anniversary of Michal Rozsival's NHL draft, and he's still ticking in the NHL. Quite the career, and with 941 career NHL games in the books, if Rozy can sneak his way into 59 more games that would make 1,000 in his career.
Rozsival's return (as well as Austin Lemieux skating at Pens prospect camp) got me to think about how many of Mario Lemieux's old teammates are still in the NHL. How many can you name? With Andrew Ference's playing career effectively ended by hip surgery (don't worry, he's moving on just fine), plus Rozsival there are only 5 players who were NHL teammates of Mario's still in the NHL, with 2 more playing high-level hockey in other leagues
Max Talbot (signed 2 year deal in the KHL) is one and Wlikes-Barre captain Tom Kostopolous played on the same team as Lemieux for 3 seasons in the early '00's. The NHL remaining teammates are ageless Jaromir Jagr. Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi are two more, and as astute commenters pointed out Marc-Andre Fleury as well. The final teammate is the one that should be playing the longest, and that of course is Sidney Crosby. After now a little more than a decade following Lemieux's retirement, that's all that is left of still active players in a major pro hockey league who wore a Pens jersey with #66.