Originally posted on The Pensblog  |  Last updated 6/25/12
    Today we're making the case for pursuing Ryan Suter over Zach Parise.  Tomorrow, we will pursue Parise over Suter.

Today's scenario implies a couple of things.
  • Shero will pursue Suter and not even worry about signing Parise.
  • Shero will sign Suter for $7.5 million a season.

Quick reasons this is a possibility:

1.  Even with Staal gone, scoring will not be an issue for the Penguins.   Also, this year's forward free-agent pool has some diamonds in the rough.  

2.  Departure of Michalek means the Pens need an already-established defenseman to fill his role.

3.  Steigerwald fumbling between Suter and Sutter will be amazing.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  Shero went the "go balls deep in free-agent d-men" route a few summers ago, and it became the Bay of Pigs.   But Ryan Suter is in your mouth.   The argument against Shero signing Suter is the Pens have a plethora of talent coming up through their blue-line ranks, so why throw a **** ton of money at a defenseman?

Because the big picture looks interesting.  Brooks Orpik's contract is up in the summer of 2014.      He will be 34 years old that September.  He has been the anchor of the Pens' blue line for a long time, and his services have been greatly appreciated.   Orpik has been the constant physical presence on the Pens' blue line, but will we still hold on to that image as he reaches the twilight of his career?  Has he already shown signs of losing some of his physical play?  Has he digressed in his defensive capabilities in general? Also, why does he speak like he is Canadian?

Kris Letang is also signed through the 2013-2014 season.  Depending on how quickly and how well certain Pens' d-men prospects mature, Letang could either be tradebait around that time or the Pens may feel the need to sign him at whatever price necessary.  

Paul Martin is Paul Martin.  We've always been told to stay away from lightning rods.  He had a good year in 2010-2011.  This past season was what it was.  Rubber match this upcoming season.

Matt Niskanen looked like a completely different player this past season, in a good way.    Shero may be signing him very shortly just so he doesn't have to worry about finding another defenseman.

Lovejoy- Defining moment was getting toasted in the playoffs. Likeable guy too, but yikes.

Deryk Engelland does his job, plain and simple.  No flash involved.  He's signed through 2013-2014 for 11 cents a year.

Then it becomes a Hell in the Cell.  Is Simon Depres ready for a full-time position on the Pens blue line this season?  Are we supposed to bank on him developing even more as this season unfolds?

Same goes for Brian Strait.  

Then we've got names like Joe Morrow, Carl Sneep, Joey Mormina, Robert Bortuzzo, etc.

::::::::::::::

If Shero stands pat or goes all-in on Parise, the Pens opening-night blue-line will look something like this.

      Letang-Orpik
      Martin-Niskanen
      Depres-Engelland-Lovejoy-Strait-Morrow-etc.

Going into a season where everyone involved with the team -- be it fans, managements, whatever -- have their eyes set on a Cup, is everyone comfortable with that?   Pens can't fall into another situation in the playoffs where Ben Lovejoy and Brian Strait are trying to defend Claude Giroux or Lecavalier/St. Louis.  Bad news bears.

Signing Suter turns the Pens blue-line into this:

      Orpik-Suter
      Letang-Martin
      Niskanen-Depres/Engelland/Lovejoy
  We'd go to battle with that d all day.   With the addition of one player -- but an expensive one -- the blue-line corps looks that much better.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
 
Signing Suter at $7.5 million a year would give Shero $7.1 million to work with for other free agents, namely forwards.  That money could be used to snatch up the aforementioned diamonds in the rough.

PA Parenteau 25 goal guy with Crosby, could be grabbed at $3.5 a year possibly.
    Jiri Hudler is lurking.
    Mikael Samuelsson.
     Lee Stempniak.

Pens lines could look something like this:

  Dupuis-Crosby-Parenteau
  Neal-Malkin-Kunitz
 Sullivan-Sutter-Cooke
 Jeffrey-Adams-Vitale   Parenteau may be a reach on the first line though, and you have to think Crosby wants a big time winger.   Could a guy like Shane Doan:   Doan's cap hit last year was around 4.5 million. He ain't getting no younger.   Dupuis-Crosby-Doan could be a force. Doan, although he is a giant baby, would fill a big role at a cheap price.   We'll get more into tomorrow when we breakdown Parise.   :::::::::::   In closing if we had a preference it is Suter . Big time D that the Pens need to right the ship, and eventually take over the veteran role. But the Pens aren't the only ones interested, the price will be hefty.   What a week, man.
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