Ok, so I decided to throw my two cents into the debate about who to keep, Bugsy Malone or Marian Hossa...If there's really any question in your mind about this one, then someone needs to go ahead and slap you on Big Snack's behalf.
Word is Ray Shero offered Hossa a 7 year, $50 million contract, and he's waiting on his response to see where else to go this offseason. It will really put his word to the test, as this will be only a very meager raise over his previous contract and he said he'd be willing to take less money to stay here and play with Sid. The true character of Hossa will come out here - do you make a grab at the cash or are you more concerned with winning a championship?
Will he stay or will he go?
As for Malone, it's quite evident if we sign Hossa, he's gone. He's going to command $5 million or more on the open market, and teams are already calling the Pens about trading draft picks just to NEGOTIATE with Malone before free agency begins. So even if we don't sign Hossa, we may well find out someone is willing to overpay Bugsy by about $3 million and decide he's not worth that much to us. So unfortunately, I think we're saying goodbye to Bugsy...
Bye bye Bugsy...
Brooks is an interesting case - he could go either way as far as staying or going. He's going to command about $4 million on the open market, but he has also expressed a willingness to stay for a lesser price in order to win. The problem is, do we really want to invest $3.5 million for 5 years to him? He's a solid defensive defenseman and he hits like a freight train, but we also have another ship in the water in the USS Hal Gill. So the question becomes, is he worth it to us? I say let him go and use his cash to try and keep Bugsy or to extend one of our budding superstars. We got a hitman, we don't need two at that price.
We took Flower to arbitation, and Staal seems to be on the backburner till all this plays out, so that leaves us with one big guy left to go - Geno Malkin. What to do with Geno? He's under the impression he will sign a 5 or 6 year deal with the Pens sometime around July 1, when he's allowed to start discussing an extension with the team, but some outlets have him being on the trading block.
I like Geno, a lot, but he needs to show me he can stay fresh for an entire season and that he's mentally tough enough to finish where he started. He did a fantastic job while Sid was out, carrying the Pens on his shoulders, but it seems like when he plays with Sid he falls into second fiddle mode, which for a guy like Malkin is just about the worst thing you can do. He has to prove he can be 1B to Sidney's 1A, not #2 to Sidney's #1. And he has to stay cheap enough that we can afford him along with Hossa and Sid and the rest. If he can do that, then we'd be fools to get rid of him, but if his head isn't right around Sid, then maybe we do trade him somewhere (LA apparently is willing to part with a king's ransom for him). It's definitely a tricky, tricky situation.
Hey, call me Geno...
So the ball's in you court, Shero. Don't crap your pants big boy, this is your first real test - don't pull a Tampa Bay and overpay 3 guys at the expense of the rest of the team. Make it work jagoff!