Tag: Paul Martin


Report: Penguins won’t re-sign Martin, Ehrhoff; intend to spend on wingers


Even with the trials and tribulations they faced at times in Pittsburgh, one would think there was a chance that the Penguins might bring back either Paul Martin or Christian Ehrhoff. Instead, it sounds like they’ll go very young in 2015-16.

Le Presse’s Marc Antoine Godin reports that the Pens are opting for a “full youth movement” on defense, and that they’d rather spend their cash on wingers this summer.

It’s easy to pick out the Penguins defensemen who would rank as “experienced:” Kris Letang, Ian Cole, Rob Scuderi and Ben Lovejoy.

Beyond that, you have promising (and resoundingly unlucky) young blueliner Olli Maatta leading a group of fresh faces that includes the likes of Derrick Pouliot and Brian Dumoulin. Some would go even further with that youth movement, actually:

On paper, the Penguins could very well have a healthy amount of cap space, especially if they go with young and cheap blueliners instead of signing veterans. Beyond the go-to answer of Justin Williams, it’s to say how robust the free agent market will be regarding wingers, although the Penguins could also aim for a trade or some other move.

/Waits for wave of Brandon Saad comments.

Anyway, it’s an interesting and bold strategy, assuming Godin’s report is correct. We’ll see how that situation shakes out in what’s looking like a summer of change both on and off the ice for Pittsburgh.

Report: Extension talks underway between Pens, Cole

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three

Penguins defenseman Ian Cole, a pending restricted free agent, has “officially” started contract extension talks with the club, according DK on Pittsburgh Sports sources.

Cole, 26, is a former first-round pick (18th overall, 2007) that came to Pittsburgh in the Roberto Bortuzzo-to-St. Louis trade at the deadline. The former Notre Dame product played well upon joining the Pens, scoring eight points in 20 regular season games while averaging just under 19 minutes a night.

In the playoffs, with Pittsburgh’s blueline decimated by injury, Cole scored two points in five games while averaging 23 minutes per night.

Getting Cole back in the mix is fairly important for the Pens. While they do have some good young d-men on the horizon — Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta most notably — veterans Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff will be UFAs on July 1, and could be playing elsewhere next season.

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.

Ehrhoff likely headed to free agency

Christian Ehrhoff

Christian Ehrhoff’s agent said his client is probably done with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“For the moment I would suggest he’ll be available come July 1,” Rick Curran told PHT on Wednesday, the same day news of Ehrhoff’s house listing ran on Realtor’s Celebrity Real Estate page,

Ehrhoff, 32, signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Pittsburgh last July, not long after Buffalo bought out the remaining seven years of his 10-year, $40 million contract.

The signing came with significant fanfare. GM Jim Rutherford said it was a “good day,” adding that Pittsburgh was “very fortunate” to land the coveted offensive d-man, who’d generated plenty of interest. Many pundits thought Ehrhoff would fit in nicely, replacing some of the offense lost with Matt Niskanen signing in Washington.

But things didn’t go as planned. Ehrhoff’s offensive production was slow at the beginning of the season (though he did log big minutes, and played a steady top-four role.) In the second half of the year, concussion issues derailed his campaign; the German rearguard only played six games over the final three months of the season, missing 33 games all told.

Ehrhoff was then held out of Pittsburgh’s opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

“[Ehrhoff] just hasn’t been progressing,” head coach Mike Johnston said midway through the series, per NHL.com. “That’s the step that’s been taken and it’s because he’s sort of flat-lined in his recovery and will be progressing from there.”

PHT emailed Curran for an update on his client’s health, but did not receive a reply.

Update: Curran tells the Post-Gazette that Ehrhoff “has been given a clean bill of health.”

Ehrhoff’s health will certainly play a role in how much interest Ehrhoff garners on the open market. While he’s no longer the offensive producer he was in Vancouver a few years ago — he scored 44 and a career-high 50 points with the Canucks in 2009-10 and ’10-11 — Ehrhoff, when healthy, remains a capable puck-mover that averaged nearly 22 minutes last year.

As for the Pens, this move could suggest they’ll try and retain veteran d-man Paul Martin. Martin proved a dependable presence in the wake of all the injuries on defense last year, and averaged nearly 25 minutes per night against the Rangers.

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.