Welcome back to another edition of Penguins News & Rumors. In this edition, we will touch on the latest reports surrounding Zach Hyman, Brandon Montour, and Teddy Blueger as the expansion draft and free agency quickly approach.
Penguins Serious Interest in Hyman
Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star recently reported that numerous teams had an interest in Hyman’s unrestricted free agent rights and that the Penguins were one of them. Along with Pittsburgh were the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Detroit Red Wings. (from ‘Zach Hyman wants to stick with Maple Leafs but the offers are rolling in’, Toronto Star, 07/15/2021)
Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now confirmed McGran’s report, even stating that the Penguins’ interest in Hyman was “serious.” Kingerski classifies the situation as a “reverse sign-and-trade,” stating that Hyman’s rights will likely be traded, but not prior to him negotiating a contract with the new team. It was reported that at least one team has offered him a $5 million annual average value, along with an eight-year term.
Kingerski thinks that if the Penguins add Hyman, it may raise questions towards the team’s other right-wingers in Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen, and Brandon Tanev.
Through 43 games played this season, Hyman recorded 15 goals and 33 points along with 8.2 goals above replacement (GAR) and 1.5 wins above replacement (WAR).
Personally, I would avoid pursuing Hyman due to the term that he wants, along with the potential of a no-movement clause. He’d be a great player to add to the team, as he’s a more skilled version of Tanev, however, I just don’t think it’s worth giving out that contract when so many power forwards in past free-agent classes have signed long-term deals that ended up being terrible. I would rather see the team go for a winger like Blake Coleman or Barclay Goodrow.
Brandon Montour a Fit in the ‘Burgh?
In another recent piece by Kingerski, he highlights the odds of certain upcoming free agents going to the Penguins, and he had Montour slotted at a 33% chance.
Kingerski writes that Montour is a tough right-side defenseman who he expects to be cheaper than other defensemen in free agency due to his struggles in Buffalo. He states that the Panthers were impressed with his play after the trade deadline, however, which may add to the Penguins’ competition.
He predicts that Montour will make less than $4 million, but not too much less. If this is the case, the Penguins should hope to cut loose one of Mike Matheson, Marcus Pettersson, or Jason Zucker in the expansion draft.
Through 50 games, Montour had 7 goals and 18 points along with 0.6 goals above replacement and 0.1 wins above replacement.
In my opinion, Montour would be a solid option if the Penguins were to lose Cody Ceci. His play in Buffalo was not good at all, but that was mainly due to the terrible coaching from Ralph Krueger, as he improved drastically in Florida. He would definitely be worth taking a chance on, however, I would try to avoid a term longer than three years.
Two More Years For Blueger!
Recently, the Penguins announced that they were going to be signing forward Teddy Blueger to a two-year extension worth $2.2 million annually.
Blueger is an extremely valuable depth piece for the Penguins, working on the fourth line with Tanev and Zach Aston-Reese. He is one of the NHL’s best fourth-line centres, as he would be in the top nine on the majority of teams. His two-way game along with excellent penalty-killing abilities make him very versatile and consistent.
It’s unknown if he will be protected in the expansion draft yet, but if not, he could be a prime candidate to be chosen by Seattle, which would be a major loss for the team. Through 43 games played this season, he had 7 goals and 22 points along with 6.0 goals above replacement and 1.1 wins above replacement.
To me, this was a great value deal, as I have said numerous times that I would be willing to pay him up to $3 million annually on a three-year deal.
In conclusion, the Penguins offseason is starting to heat up, and we will likely see some new faces next season. July 28th is a day to mark on your calendar.
PIT Penguins Writer THW. Instagram: puckempire. Formerly a Florida Panthers writer.