Sunday, August 22, 2010

Asham Signing Triggers GTOG Gag Reflex

By Artistry

It's taken a couple of days for GTOG to digest the news that the Pens have signed former Flyer Arron Asham to a 1-year, $700,000 contract.  Finesse, in particular, may have thrown up a little bit in his mouth.  When I first suggested yesterday that we should post something about the deal, the following email exchange ensued:

Finesse:  "You can post if you have a strong reaction.  I hate Asham."
Artistry:   "As a human, a player, or both?"
Finesse:  "Is he human?'

You see what we're dealing with here.  Some additional thoughts on Asham and the possibility of a Bill Guerin return after the jump...

I also currently feel nothing but animosity toward Arron Asham, but given this new development, isn't that a good thing?  At least you notice the guy when he's on the ice, and if you hate him, doesn't that mean he's no fun to play against?  This is Ray Shero bargain-hunting for another winger who will pound people on the forecheck, stick up for his teammates, and pop in a dozen goals.  Last year it was big Mike Rupp, this year it's Asham.  And if the Penguins are only going to spend $700-$825K, they won't do better than these guys.

As we've discussed repeatedly in this space, the wing is where you look for bargains.  Look at these names:

Arron Asham
Mike Rupp
Craig Adams
Tyler Kennedy
Eric Godard

What do they have in common?  They all play wing, they are all - with the possible exception of Godard - likely to see plenty of ice this season, they certainly won't keep the opposition up at night but will make the other team at least a little uncomfortable out there on the forecheck, and they all make less than $1 million.  Throw in Eric Tangradi and you've got another possible regular making less than seven figures.  Pascal Dupuis ($1.4 million) and Matt Cooke ($1.8 million) don't make much more.  No glamor, but no shortage of cheap grit.

This all sets things up nicely for the trade deadline, and we know by now that's exactly what Ray Shero is thinking.  He'll rent a player to upgrade our top 6 wingers late in the season, when he can fit a pro-rated salary under the cap.  Book it.  Until then, we recommend you avoid spicy foods while watching Arron Asham.

What About Billy?

The veteran Guerin is apparently still on Shero's radar, even though he won't be backing off many defensemen these days.

Move those feet, buddy.
We love Guerin, but it's hard to see how he could play anything more than a supporting role at this point.  No more top line minutes for a guy who hasn't moved his feet to take a pass in the neutral zone since the early part of last season.  Maybe the Pens can just pay him a nominal fee to be a locker room presence and to take the ice for the last 30 seconds of one-goal games.


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