Tag: Maxim Lapierre

Paul Martin

Rutherford denies reports that Pens won’t re-sign UFAs Martin, Ehrhoff, Lapierre


Separate reports emerged yesterday that the Pittsburgh Penguins will not re-sign unrestricted free agent forward Maxim Lapierre or defensemen Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff.

When it came to passing on Martin, 34, and Ehrhoff, 32, the idea was to focus on a defensive youth movement while reallocating those savings towards bolstering the Penguins’ group of wingers. That might ultimately be the path Pittsburgh takes, but Penguins GM Jim Rutherford countered those reports.

“I don’t want to cross anybody off the list because you don’t know what happens here in the next month,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Paul Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson, also asserted that there hasn’t been any decision made yet and that returning to Pittsburgh is still a possibility.

Pittsburgh has a little under $61.8 million committed to 13 players, per General Fanager. That gives them some flexibility going into the free agent period, but signing Martin and Ehrhoff would make it difficult for them to add anyone else.

One less pest: Pens will reportedly let Lapierre walk

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Two

The Pittsburgh Penguins brought in some agitating new presences in 2014-15, but it sounds like at least one of them won’t be back.

TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports that the team won’t re-sign Maxim Lapierre, allowing him to hit the unrestricted free agent market.

The 30-year-old was best known for getting under opponents’ skin. In 80 regular season games, he managed 11 points and 32 PIM, and probably received a wide array of profane insults for his pesky ways. After 45 games wih the St. Louis Blues, he joined the Penguins via a trade (the Blues nabbed defensive forward Marcel Goc in the deal).

Penguins fans and observers seem pleased that he’s on his way out:

The Penguins have other fish to fry this offseason, including a tougher decision to make regarding another (more productive) pest, as Steve Downie’s also heading toward free agency.

Rutherford: Pittsburgh ‘very appealing’ for free agents, even with ownership situation

Jim Rutherford

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford says the big news of this week — that owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle are exploring a possible sale — won’t affect how the club works free agency.

“Nothing changes as far as how we run hockey operations,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We have a great city to play in and the best facilities of anyone in the league with the opening of our new practice facility.

“That should be very appealing to a free agent.”

Just prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, TSN broke news that Lemieux and Burkle hired Morgan Stanley “to explore the possibility of selling some or all of the NHL franchise.”

Shortly thereafter, the Pens released a statement:

“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel.

“After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”

Before the club can begin exploring free agents, it needs to reach decisions on the eight players set to become UFAs: Daniel Winnik, Maxim Lapierre, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Paul Martin, Thomas Greiss, Christian Ehrhoff and Craig Adams. One decision has already been made — Adams has been told he won’t be brought back — and Ehrhoff’s agent recently suggested his client will go to July 1.

The club also needs a new deal for RFA forward Beau Bennett, and RFA d-men Ian Cole and Brian Dumoulin.

Agent: Ebbett getting European interest, but focused on staying with Pens

Pittsburgh Penguins v Dallas Stars

This week, a report from news outlet Berner Zeitung claimed that SC Bern, the powerhouse Swiss league team coached by Guy Boucher, was likely to sign Pittsburgh forward Andrew Ebbett.

Today, Ebbett’s agent clarified the situation.

“Andrew has had a lot of interest from European clubs,” Legacy Global Sports’ Alec Schall told PHT, via email. “At this time we are focusing on returning to the Pittsburgh organization.”

Ebbett, 32, just wrapped the last of a two-year, two-way, $1.1M deal that paid $550,000 at the NHL level. He was up and down between Pittsburgh and AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, scoring six points in 24 games with the Pens; he also lit up the American League, as he’s done throughout his career — Ebbett had 44 points in 44 games for the Baby Pens, and another seven in eight playoff appearances.

With over 200 NHL games on his resume and some very good years in the past — lest we forget that, in 2008-09, Ebbett scored 32 points in 48 games with the Ducks — it’s not surprising to hear the pending UFA wants to stick with in Pittsburgh.

But how that shakes out remains to be seen. The team projects to have around $11 million in cap space, with a number of other veteran UFAs to make decisions on, specifically d-men Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff, and forwards Blake Comeau, Steve Downie, Daniel Winnik and Maxim Lapierre.

On the RFA front, Beau Bennett and Ian Cole need new deals. It’s also worth noting Pittsburgh has already told 38-year-old forward Craig Adams he won’t be brought back next season.

Penguins need 60 minutes — not just 20 — of desperation

Sidney Crosby, Keith Yandle

Trailing the New York Rangers 2-1 in their first-round series, the Pittsburgh Penguins should be a desperate team tonight at Consol Energy Center. Lose and they’ll face elimination Friday at MSG.

The challenge will be to channel that desperation into a much better start than they had Monday, when they got outshot 7-3 in the first period and 12-8 in the second. The Rangers opened a 2-0 lead in those two periods, and the Penguins could only muster one goal in the third.

“Our desperation level was much higher in the third, and you saw the difference in our game and our play,” said captain Sidney Crosby. “Sometimes it’s hard to realize what you are doing in the first or second means as much as it does, but you have to find that desperation for the entire game.”

When asked for the key to tonight’s game, veteran forward Maxim Lapierre told reporters, “It’s pretty simple — play like we did in the third period last game.”

Now, granted, part of the reason the Penguins were able to outplay the Rangers in those final 20 minutes was because their opponents sat back in protection of a two-goal lead. It was bound to happen, and it did.

In addition to desperation, the Penguins just need to hit the net more. Yesterday, coach Mike Johnston referenced the “35 shot attempts that were blocked or missed (in Game 3). Those are the ones we have to get eight or nine of those to the net, for sure. You can’t have 35 that are blocked or missed.”

The two teams get going at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Related: Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight