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

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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.