Saturday, June 23, 2012

Michalek gone too; Pens primed for Parise and/or Suter?

By Finesse

Late last night the Pens dealt Zbynek Michalek to Phoenix for defensive prospect Harrison Roupp, goalie Marc Chevrie and a third-round pick (81st overall) in this year's draft.  According to CapGeek, the Pens now have about $15 million in cap space heading toward free agency.

Rumors about that the Pens are going to be heavily involved in the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter sweepstakes, with many suggesting that Shero is trying to acquire exclusive rights to negotiate with Suter before July 1st.  

You can't overstate how major of an overhaul this is for the Pens -- jettisoning Staal and Michalek and possibly Paul Martin in an attempt to land a top-10 defenseman in Suter or (maybe even "and") Zach Parise, arguably a top-10 forward.

I'm on the record as being a huge fan of Parise.  As far as non-Penguins go, I'm about as big of a fan of his game as I am of anyone in the league.  But as incredible as it would be to have a second line consisting of Crosby and Parise, scoring will not be a problem for the Pens.  We need Suter.  We need a horse on the blue line.  We need a guy who can play 30 minutes in the playoffs and do it almost mistake free.  With all due respect to Kris Letang, we're not sure he played a total of 30 mistake-free minutes in 6 games against the Flyers.  Suter is a true #1 defenseman and #1 defensemen win Stanley Cups....ask Drew Doughty and Zdeno Chara.

Ray Shero got himself into this mess by signing Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek two years ago.  At the time they seemed like great moves.  Kudos to Shero for recognizing that they didn't work and actually doing something to fix it.  You can't say that Shero is always right, but you certainly can't say he's stubborn.

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