Tag: Mark Eaton

Ray Shero

Shero on Malkin, Letang: ‘They’re not going anywhere’


For Penguins general manager Ray Shero, what promises to be a busy summer started with today’s announcement that head coach Dan Bylsma had been granted a two-year contract extension.

Now that the coaching question is out of the way, it’s time to focus on the players. And there are plenty of tough decisions to make on that front.

“This team is going to change,” said Shero. “It happens every year with free agency, salary cap, trades. Change is sometimes good and sometimes hard.”

Pending unrestricted free agents that may or may not be back include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.

Speaking of Malkin and Letang…

“They’re both under contract for next year,” said Shero. “They’re not going anywhere.”

And the goaltending?

“I’m not getting rid of Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Shero, “provided he wants to be part of it here and come back.”

The Penguins also have Tomas Vokoun under contract next season. Fleury has two years remaining on his deal.

Shero said he’s already received calls from other general managers. He can probably expect a lot more as the June 30 draft approaches. Free agency starts on July 5.

Related: Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins poses after winning the Ted Lindsay Award, the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy during the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on June 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(June 19, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

We only ask, because this is what TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted last night:

Malkin, 26, has one year remaining on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. According to CapGeek, he has a no-movement clause for the 2013-14 season.

The reasons for not trading Malkin aren’t hard to list:

—- He’s one of the best players in the world.

—- Centers are hard enough to come by in the NHL, let alone world-class centers.

—- He’s still young. Which is to say, this isn’t like the Joe Thornton debate in San Jose, where you’re talking about a guy on the wrong side of 30.

That being said, it all depends what the Penguins could get in return, and also what they could acquire with the cap space they’d gain. Because in case you haven’t been watching, there are big question marks about the quality of Pittsburgh’s defense and goaltending.

Speaking of which, what’s Kris Letang’s future with the Pens? Like Malkin, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. While Letang’s point production has been impressive in the playoffs, his defensive play has been suspect, particularly against the Bruins.

Struggling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is another face of the franchise the Penguins will have to make a decision on. He’s got two years left on his contract before he’s free to go wherever.

For general manager Ray Shero, this summer promises to be one full of tough calls. Pending UFAs include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Malkin, Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.

The Penguins aren’t done yet. They could still make it a series with a win tomorrow in Boston. But down 3-0, their chances of coming all the way back are slim.

Bylsma: There will be lineup changes for Game 3


With his team behind 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and facing a virtual must-win in Boston, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said there would be changes to his roster and forward lines for Game 3.

“We have to get back to playing good defensive hockey, we have to get back to playing get away from the puck, and that’s got to happen throughout our lineup,” he explained.

“I think you’ll see some changes in our lines and a few guys being added to the lineup to do so.”

What those changes are remain to be seen.

Of the healthy scratches from Game 2, Beau Bennett, Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, Tanner Glass and Tyler Kennedy have all played at least once this postseason, with Kennedy (2G-3A-5PTS in eight games) being the most productive of the lot.

As for who might come out?

Jussi Jokinen (7:46 TOI), Joe Vitale (11:03) and Craig Adams (11:14) had the least amount of ice time among the forwards in Game 2, and one has to wonder if Douglas Murray could be in danger of getting parked after a rough outing (minus-2 and just 12:45 TOI, the lowest among all the defensemen).

Bylsma also wouldn’t confirm which of his goalies — Tomas Vokoun or Marc-Andre Fleury — would start in Game 3.

Vokoun was yanked for the first time this postseason in Monday’s 6-1 loss after allowing three goals on 12 shots to start the game. Fleury came in and wasn’t much more effective, allowing three goals on 17 shots.

Bylsma sounded like he was leaning towards using Vokoun in Game 3.

“He’s certainly won a lot of hockey games, had a lot of success in that net for us,” Bylsma said. “He didn’t have that last night, but that’s not going to play into the decision.”