Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hamhuis, State of the Pens' D, Beau Beastly, World Cup

By Finesse

  • None of us really knows that much about Dan Hamhuis.  The Pens acquired the defenceman's rights from Philadelphia and have until July 1 to sign him or else he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  From everything we are reading about him, he sounds like a better version of Mark Eaton.  I guess that means he is So So Smart, So So Steady, and So So Serviceable.  If that's the case, he sounds like a good fit.  
  • Ray Shero doesn't trade for exclusive negotiating rights to someone and then not sign him.  GM's like Bobby Clarke do that.  It is against the CBA to negotiate with a player who is not on your team prior to the start of free agency, so technically Shero has had "no contact" with Hamhuis.  Still, it would be shocking if the Pens could not come to a deal with Hamhuis prior to July 1 - it just is not in the Pens' nature to make a move like this and have it come back to burn them.
  • Regular reader(s) of GTOG is (are) not surprised by this move.  Our free agency preview from 10 days ago listed Hamhuis as the number 3 target for the Pens this offseason and had posted the videos of him that all the other outlets are now posting.  There is a lesson to be learned here.
  • The other thing that all the outlets are saying about Hamhuis is that he is not "overly physical."  As far as Hamhuis himself is concerned, that's fine.  But looking at the overall makeup now of the Pens D (obviously, this is subject to what happens in free agency), I can't help but wonder if the D will be "too soff" again next year.  If we pencil in Hamhuis, that gives the Pens Orpik, Hamhuis, Letang, Goligoski, and probably Lovejoy as 5 of the top 6.  Outside of Orpik, there is not a lot of sandpaper there.  For the Pens to be successful, they have to be hard to play against and this past season they were anything but.  In 2008-09 the Pens were not fun to play against - teams had to work incredibly hard to beat them (similar to how we feel trying to beat the Red Wings). So what I'm basically trying to say is that if the Pens do sign Hamhuis, I'm not sure that it would be the best idea to bring back Mark Eaton and/or Leopold - I don't think they would add anything to the D that we wouldn't already have.  
  • As for Gonchar, who knows.  The sticking point is apparently years - he wants 3, the Pens want to only give 2.  I hope Shero doesn't budge.
  • Have to like the Pens pick of Beau Bennett (Beau Beastly as he will hereinafter be called).  The Pens need homegrown low-cost goal scoring from the wingers and he seems to fit that bill.  In fact, the key to the Pens winning another Stanley Cup (or more) in the next few years is low-cost goal scoring.  Solid analysis of the pick at Pensblog and Faceoff Factor.
  • I watched the USA/Ghana game at a bar today and it was a lot of fun to get into the patriotism thing.  I was definitely disappointed that the USA lost, but having watched the past few games I've reached the simple conclusion that our players aren't talented enough (yet).  We generate TONS of chances in these games, but have an extremely difficult time burying it.  I don't attribute this to bad luck when it happens a dozen times in 3 games.  It seemed like every time one of our guys had a chance to get behind their D, we pushed the ball just a bit too far ahead and their goalie was able to get to it first.  This is not a coincidence - better players would probably be able to corral the ball better and finish.  We can't, so we lost.

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