2010 NHL Free Agency: Penguins add more sandpaper to forward group with Arron Asham

arronashamhit.jpgThe Pittsburgh Penguins added a little bit more sandpaper to a forward group that – beyond Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – is actually sneakily rugged by signing Arron Asham today. TSN reports that they nabbed the ex-Philadelphia Flyers depth player to a one-year, $700K contract.

Asham joins a group of forwards who are versatile and tough but can only bring so much offense to the table, like Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Mike Rupp.

The Penguins roster is now nearly full. Adding his $700K to CapGeek’s roster figures, the team will have about $1.4 million left with two spots to fill (13 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies). It will be interesting to see which of those forwards ends up being a healthy scratch most nights. I’d be surprised to see Tyler Kennedy sit in the press box but Penguins blog The Confluence at least brings up that question while Craig Adams and wet-behind-the-ears power forward Eric Tangradi also strike me as possible scratches.

While he won’t cure Pittsburgh’s woes when it comes to scoring wingers, it’s clear that GM Ray Shero wants to make the Penguins a tough team to play against. That’s been the trend ever since Shero shipped floating, turnover-prone offensive defenseman Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Kunitz and Tangradi; I don’t expect him to buck that trend anytime soon.

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    Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

    Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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    Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

    Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

    During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

    It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

    As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

    Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.


    ‘Canes lose Wisniewski (lower body) 47 seconds into debut

    Phil Kessel, James Wisniewski
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    James Wisniewski‘s time as a Carolina Hurricane is off to a troubling start.

    Wisniewski, acquired by the ‘Canes at this year’s draft, exited Thursday’s season-opener against Nashville early in the first period with a lower-body injury.

    Shortly thereafter, the team ruled out his return.

    Wisniewski, 31, was expected to play a fairly significant role on Carolina’s defense this year.

    It’s unclear what the injury is or how severe it might be, but initial reports don’t sound good; Wisniewski appeared to be in significant pain and had to be helped off the ice.