Ray Shero has had a brilliant July, so why does it smell like old people in here? Uh, that's easy. It's because the Penguins just handed a combined $40 million to the guys in the headline -- in deals that will keep them in Pittsburgh until they're 38, 37, 38, and 38, respectively. For now, those four join Brooks Orpik (33 in September), Paul Martin (32), Tomas Vokoun (37), Jussi Jokinen (30), and Tanner Glass (30 in November) as regulars in the 2013-14 lineup. No reason to panic about these numbers, but let's face it, sometimes people go from "old man strong" to "I've fallen, and I can't get up" in the blink of a swollen Deryk Engelland eye. Wait. What's that? Holy shit. I'm being told Deryk Engelland is already 31.
|Craig Adams, Jr.|
As a predicate, Shero is the best in the business at understanding the market and underpaying when virtually every other team is giving the Tyler Bozaks of the world $21,000,000. Or locking up an injury-prone Nathan Horton, who last scored as many as 30 goals 7 years ago by the way, for 7 more years at $37 million. Or buying out their last big mistake. Really, we could do a dissertation on why pretty much every deal this done summer was a bad one, but who has the time? Rob Scuderi is probably the only big-name UFA who didn't get massively overpaid. And yes, he is exactly what the Pens need on the back-end.
- In Ryan Clowe's best season, he had 24 goals. Dupuis and Kunitz just scored 20 and 22, respectively, in 48 GAMES.
- Patrick Elias just signed an over-35-year-old-so-say-goodbye-to-this-money-forever 3 year, $5.5M a year contract after scoring 14 goals.
- Toronto decided to pay Dave Clarkson $5.25M a year every year until he's 36. His career high in points is 46. Over 80 games. Kunitz just scored 52 points in 48 games.
- Detroit just handed Daniel Alfredsson $5.5M, perhaps with the hope he can, what, double his 10-goal output from last season?
Do we see a pattern yet? The Dupuis and Kunitz deals were GREAT signings. Stellar signings. Inarguably.
|"We're rich, hahahaha, rich! What? You mean Matt Cullen got $3.5M a year?"|
See? It's as easy as can be to make the case for all of these moves, but it doesn't change the fact that the Pens already tried and failed to win the Cup with an aging all-star team. It also does nothing to address the glaring holes in the bottom 6, where Matt Cooke, Brenden Morrow, Jarome Iginla, and Tyler Kennedy used to reside. Now we're looking at Jokinen, Glass, Vitale, Dustin Jeffrey, and Adams, with no legitimate depth beyond them. Anybody think Brandon Sutter is going to carry this group? Anyone? This is the first time I can recall that there is no realistic chance for any minor league forward prospect to make the team out of camp. Who's going to do it? You Dom Uher? You Tom Kuehnhackl?
|Pretty dramatic, Tom Kuehnhackl.|
Over the next three months, when the free agent frenzy has long subsided, that's when Shero will really need to earn his GM-of-the-year title. This isn't over.