The NHL, like any major sports league, sees roster turnover almost every day.
Free agency has allowed players to cash in on super long, big-money contracts, often giving their services to the highest bidder.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are no different in this case. Each year for the last 15 or so, management has tinkered with the Penguins’ supporting cast to help capture a Stanley Cup. And in doing so, we’ve had to say goodbye to those who’ve departed the organization for pastures anew.
With all this said, it’s time to take a look at which players have left the Penguins’ system since the 2021 offseason began. Hat tip to our Buffalo Sabres website, Die By The Blade, for this idea. Roster status is accurate as of August 4, 2021.
- Zach Trotman - retired; spent parts of the last eight seasons with the Boston Bruins, L.A. Kings, and the Penguins
- Yannick Weber - retired from NHL play, signed a three-year contract with the ZSC Lions of the National League; spent parts of the last 13 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, and the Penguins
- Pontus Aberg - became a UFA; signed with the Ottawa Senators
- Lukas Bengtsson - became a UFA; signed with HC Dinamo Minsk of the KHL
- Cody Ceci - became a UFA; signed a four-year, $13 million deal with the Edmonton Oilers
- Josh Currie - became a UFA; signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL
- Kevin Czuczman - became of UFA; signed with the Minnesota Wild
- Frederick Gaudreau - became a UFA; signed with the Minnesota Wild
- Maxime Lagace - became a UFA; signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning
- Andrey Pedan - became a UFA; signed a two-year contract with HC Dynamo Moscow of the KHL
- Colton Sceviour - became a UFA; still unsigned
- Mark Jankowski - not tendered a qualifying offer, became a UFA; still unsigned
- Emil Larmi - not tendered a qualifying offer, became a UFA; signed with the Lahti Pelicans of the Liiga
- Jesper Lindgren - not tendered a qualifying offer, became a UFA; still unsigned
- Sam Miletic - not tendered a qualifying offer, became a UFA; signed with the Carolina Hurricanes
There are a lot of names here, but most of these players were simply AHL depth and called upon when injury dictated the situation. Since these releases were made, the Penguins have been restocking their minor league cupboards with the additions of veteran defenseman, Taylor Fedun, and veteran forward, Michael Chaput.
More notably, forwards Danton Heinen and Brock McGinn were brought in to help with the losses of both Brandon Tanev and Jared McCann.
Ron Hextall’s transactions haven’t blown the roof off PPG Paints Arena, but then again, that’s been the plan all along. His tenure has been exactly as advertised.
These additions and subtractions are all part of the game. What separates the great general managers from the average ones is how effectively they can build their NHL and AHL rosters. Championship teams always need their depth players to step up in times of need.
We’ll soon see if the Penguins have assembled enough depth to contest for the silver chalice once again.