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Who not to expect (Gagne) and what to watch for (prospects).

Greetings on a dreary Friday, dear readers. Figured I’d file a quick update with so little actually going on regarding the Penguins and free agency.

• GAGNE > PENS

Actually, that should read Gagne > Pens’ cap space.

Over the past few days, I have received several e-mails asking about the possibility of the Penguins trading for and/or claiming Flyers LW SIMON GAGNE and adding a once-elite but oft-injured winger to their galaxy of star centers. Being that Gagne remains property of the Flyers, who may or may not have asked him to waive a no-trade clause, the Penguins cannot comment on his status because of tampering rules. Many of my fellow hockey scribe colleagues have chimed in on this, such as Sports Illustrated’s Alan Muir.

Gagne, 30, remains property of the Flyers, which would prevent them from discussing any interest in him because of tampering rules. Would a fairly young player with 259 regular-season goals look nice wearing a Skating Penguin crest? Yep, especially a player with Gagne’s high-end skill. However, Gagne has played in fewer than 60 games in three seasons dating to 2002, which seemingly would suggest his $5.25 million cap hit a considerable risk to the Penguins, whose cap space is limited. Also, he is in the final year of a contract, and the Penguins probably couldn’t afford to keep him given they are roughly between $1.5 and $2 million under the cap — so why take a risk on more roster shakeup for one season?

Also, the Flyers have less than $1 million in cap space, with some reports suggesting less than $300,000. The Penguins would need to move a player or players to clear cap space for Gagne, and the Flyers cannot take on salary; they would be moving him gain cap space. For those asking if the Penguins would be interested in Gagne? I have not heard they would be, though I suspect they would be intrigued by any winger of his potential quality who is available. Still, a trade with the Flyers, given both teams’ cap restrictions, doesn’t add up at this moment.

Now, teams are not obligated to be under the $59.4 million salary cap at this moment, but they will need to be at or under it by the time next season begins.

Penguins GM RAY SHERO said last week he has not ruled out trades, but another one this offseason with the Flyers, at least one to acquire Gagne, seems like a stretch.

Waivers, you might ask? An interesting option if the Flyers choose that option, but there isn’t a lot of reason to think they will.

PROSPECT CAMP

The kids are in town next week for prospect camp. If you’re a die-hard fan or just interested in checking out, say, ERIC TANGRADI, details of the cap can be found here.

Tangradi, the top offensive prospect in the organization, has all the tools to be a stud. If he starts the season with the Penguins, which is a possibility, I maintain he would fare better opening on a third line than working on a scoring line and the pressures that come with it.

The prospect I really want to see next week is D SIMON DESPRES, the 30th overall pick in 2009. I’ve heard nothing but glowing assessments of his past year of work from team scouts, who seem higher on him now than when he was selected.

Practices are 3 p.m. daily at Southpointe from Tuesday-Saturday, and they are open to fans. I expect to see many of the dear readers there.

Also, dear readers, check out this link.

For those of you that go forward with auditions, well, I’d love to hear how that process goes via e-mail.

— ROSSI

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

Comments

  1. harp says:

    Sykora is still not signed and he might come cheap since the was let go by the wild.
    Maybe give him a shot again with Malkin? If he is willing to take less then he was being paid which was 1.6 M, he’s still not too old and might just put up more points then both Poni and Feds did combined.

  2. ConcernedPensFan871771 says:

    After a quick read of several of the Pens Fan/blog sites, it appears that fans posting are united against this move to add “ice-girls”. Using terms like skanks, bimbo’s and other unflattering monikers to describe the potential applicants. One site had posted the required “interview uniform” description:

    “Applicants must wear a midriff bearing top (crop/bra top), yoga/dance pants, HOCKEY skates (if you don’t own them, you will be able to rent hockey skates), jacket and athletic shoes.” and summed up the conclusion “sounds like skanks in tight pants to me”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Hope the Pens management reads the fan postings and listen. IMO Ice girls may work in markets like Chicago, where team culture is not based around a “clean cut family values” motif that the Pens have embraced….Although, Pens management are clearly out of touch with the Pens fans, especially the youth, if they are putting money into stripped down “girls”, rather than listening to the audience: the fans…i.e. like 60,000 hits in two days on the video of Geno cooking. These “behind the scene” videos have far more fan appeal.

  3. #4Orrfan says:

    Ice girls – I like the fact that the Steelers don’t have pro-cheer leaders. It makes them different and classier. While I’d prefer leaving the current ice crew in their jobs, I hope the Pens use some restraint in their choices.

  4. Pensfanforever2010 says:

    WOW! In doing my ususal Sat morning scan of Pens Blog sites, I am AMAZED at the backlash and anger generated by the Pens PR?? move to add Ice GIRLs umm.. Ice Crews that are chosen based on how they look in skimpy tops, with “hair worn down and makeup on, nails done in french manicure???”

    Always thought PR efforts were suppose to REACH OUT to fans, not POLARIZE the fan base and outright ALIENATE so many. Puck HUffers has a breakdown of the “job” criteria and if you can’t feel the anger you need reading comprehension classes.

    Pensblog, who’s comment section has provided a forum for fans to blast the move, has added quotes to their article from an “anonymous Pens official” trying to assure this will not be skanky. Although if the Pens official is defending a PR move and feel they have to remain Anonymous, that would seem to be a pretty good clue that the PR move is #MAJOR FAIL

  5. Frank says:

    Sykora? Are we serious? I’m not even going to bother explaining any further.

  6. gary says:

    i love the idea of ice girls i never understood y the steelers never had cheerleaders everyteam has them get with the times.

  7. Daniel Lansberry says:

    Cheerleaders are a terrible idea. They are fine in high school (i guess), but this is professional sports. The Atlanta Thrashers have cheerleaders to draw fans because they don’t have a successful team. If you want to see young women’s abdomens, or if you want to see breasts pressing together in a terrible sweater, then why are you at a hockey game? Why don’t you write to the Ice Capades and have them modify their show accordingly, so you can go see the Ice Capades with your family and look at breasts? Or move to a city where the hockey team has to sell sex to attract a fanbase. We don’t need cheerleaders. We need Penguins, and hockey fans. I’ll be your cheerleader. I’ll even hold your beer for a minute so you can swing two towels.
    Please Mr. Lemieux, don’t do it.

  8. mark says:

    NO ICE GIRLS. NO CHEERLEADERS. Fans are there to watch the game (and keep a Family atmosphere)

  9. hockeymn25 says:

    absolutely give us the hottie Ice Girls!

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