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July 15, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Important return for Sean Maguire


Tuesday felt normal for Sean Maguire, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.

The Boston University goaltender, drafted in the fourth round (113th overall) by the Penguins in 2012, did not log a college game in 2014-15, the result of what he called a “severe” concussion.

He only started skating in December. Individual stuff, though. Just some shots here and there. Nothing like this.

“Pretty natural,” Maguire answered when I approached and asked how things went. “Even though I was off the ice for so long, I felt back at home. It felt really good to be part of that again.

“Obviously I have a lot to work on. I need to hone in on my skills and get used to the caliber of play, but I feel like I’m kind of surprised; it might be coming back quicker than I expected it to be.”

Maguire, 22, played 37 games at BU his first two seasons before taking a medical redshirt. He said he was OK by December but didn’t want to burn a year of eligibility.

Instead, Matt O’Connor stepped in, went 25-4-4 with a 2.18 GAA and a .927 save percentage, and the Terriers dominated the Hockey East, won the Beanpot and reached the national championship game.

“It’s always tough as a player to watch in the stands or on the bench,” Maguire said. “Another barrier I had to get over was all the team’s success. I’m really happy for them, but it made it that much more difficult to watch them be so successful.

“Coach (David Quinn) told me, ‘It’s like watching your girlfriend get taken out on a date with another guy.’ It just clicked in my head. That’s pretty much exactly how it felt. But you get over it, move forward.”

With Matt Murray coming off a huge year and Tristan Jarry likely pushing for playing time in the American Hockey League, Maguire faces a significant logjam in the organization. Even if his time at BU goes better than he could ever imagine, chances are he’s going to join a crowded position.

But he could play his way into prospect status, which is why Tuesday was important. Maguire said pushing laterally was the hardest thing to do, followed closely by reading the releases on pucks.

“That came back a lot quicker than I thought it would,” Maguire said.

It’s only one practice, one day in a long road back. But for Maguire, it was significant.

“I think in the next two months everyone is going to forget about this past year,” Maguire said. “We’re just going to focus on next year. That’s my plan. I want to be the best I can for next year.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



July 13, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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The case for Beautiful Bobby Farnham


You know how Sen. Bob Casey said something last week about Pittsburgh being America’s hockey capital? I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it might be America’s hockey Twitter capital.

How else could you explain the No. 1 trending topic in the city on a Monday afternoon in July being a the name of a fourth-line winger with 11 games — and zero points — in his NHL career?


Farnham is trending because the Penguins announced today that he has re-signed with the team, a one-year, two-day deal worth $575,000. I caught up with him on the phone a little while ago.

“I knew I was going to re-sign,” he said. “I’m excited to get it done and just focus on this season. I’m really anxious to get back at it and get back to Pittsburgh for training camp.”

Farnham is officially a cult favorite in town. He plays like his hair is on fire, and people like that. I get it. But you can easily make a case for him being on the NHL roster to start the season based strictly on cold, hard facts, not sentimentality.

First, the addition of Phil Kessel, by all accounts, will make the Penguins more dangerous on the power play. The more frequently they go on the power play, the better off they’ll be. Farnham drew more penalties per 60 minutes (4.6) than anyone else who played at least 10 games in the NHL last season.

Second, Farnham’s NHL minimum salary of $575,000 is cheaper than the other leading candidates for the fourth-line winger job. I have included my salary cap chart to illustrate the point. Saving $75,000 doesn’t seem like much now, but come the trade deadline, it might make a difference.


“I think anyone making the minimum in the NHL would gladly take on that role,” Farnham said. “There will be lots of competition in camp for a spot on the team. That’s something you look forward to and kind of embrace. Hopefully you get the chance to be that guy.”

x x x

Make sure to check back on the blog frequently this week as development camp starts tomorrow afternoon. It’s a topic I get fired up about, watching prospects and taking notes and whatnot, so that when someone asks me in January whether, say, Jake Guentzel is a good skater, I’ll be able to have a semi-intelligent answer. Good times.

Bye for now,



July 13, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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The curious case of Chris Kunitz



Photo by Chaz Palla/Trib Total Media

Left wing Chris Kunitz did not score goals as frequently as he, his team or Penguins fans would have liked in 2014-15.

It’s a simple and fair assessment, one that’s been made several times since the season ended, and Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has generally followed it with some variation of, “Yeah, but his analytics were good.”

Rutherford isn’t wrong.

Analytics support the fact that Kunitz contributed quite a bit this season – except that he didn’t convert at his usual rate.

Let’s take a look at this from four different directions:


Kunitz’ 17 goals were the fewest for him since scoring 13 in 50 games in 2009-10. This past season’s total also represents Kunitz’ lowest per-game average (.23) in nine full seasons (excluding the 21 games he played in 2003-04).

Is the lack of scoring a big deal? It could be given his age (he’ll turn 36 on Sept. 26). Or his cap hit of $3.85 million; each Kunitz goal cost the Penguins $226,471 compared to the contracts directly above and below him: Patric Hornqvist ($4.25 million, $170,000 per goal) and Brandon Sutter ($3.3 million, $157,143 per goal).

It could also be a blip. Let’s pause for a second and take a look at Kunitz’ career GPG rates. Note that his four best came from 2010-14.

Year Team GPG
2014-15 PIT 0.23
2013-14 PIT 0.45
2012-13 PIT 0.46
2011-12 PIT 0.32
2010-11 PIT 0.35
2009-10 PIT 0.26
2008-09 ANH/PIT 0.28
2007-08 ANH 0.26
2006-07 ANH 0.31
2005-06 ATL/ANH 0.28


Colleague Jonathan Bombulie brought up a great point.

Why is it when a player, in a given, has a shooting percentage that far outweighs his career average he gets paid (think Boston’s Matt Beleskey) … yet when the opposite occurs the player is skewered?

Here’s what I mean: Beleskey is a 9.9-percent career shooter. His shooting percentage was 15.2 with Anaheim in 2014-15, and he was rewarded with 22 goals – not to mention a five-year, $19 million contract with the Bruins.

Kunitz’ shooting percentage was 10.0 percent in 2014-15. That’s a career-low. He’s a 13.2-percent career shooter. The previous four years, Kunitz had posted shooting percentages of: 16.1, 19.5, 11.3 and 17.3 percent, respectively.

Had Kunitz’ goal-scoring corresponded to his career shooting percentage and the 170 shots on goal he accumulated – on the nose of his career average – he should have scored between 22 and 23 goals in 2014-15.


Is Corsi the ultimate measure of a player’s value? In my opinion, no. Games are scored and outcomes are determined by goals, not shot-attempt differential.

Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be completely discounted, and neither should Kunitz’ value as a possession-driving player.

His Corsi For Percentage (CF%) of 56.78 led all Penguins in 2014-15 (excluding Penguins-only numbers for Ian Cole and David Perron). It was the third-best such mark of Kunitz’ career, too.

Kunitz did produce the third-lowest Scoring Chances For Per 60 (SCF60) mark of his career (35.25), according to, but I wouldn’t get too worked up over that as an evaluative tool; Kunitz punched up a 29.42 SCF60 in 2013-14, the worst of his career, yet he scored a career-high 35 goals.

The fact remains, Kunitz is an elite possession player – if you value such metrics. His CF% since 2007 (55.6) ranks 16th in the NHL, ahead of Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin and Zach Parise, among many other marquee wingers.

Kunitz’ Shots For Per 60 (SF60) of 34.36 ranks seventh, two spots ahead of Sidney Crosby (34.27).

Kunitz 2

Photo by Chaz Palla/Trib Total Media


If Kunitz is suddenly old, slow and useless, he would no longer be physical, right? He would, if this theory held true, be longer willing or able to use his body.

While admitting I hate takeaways as a stat – there’s no standard, baseline or (in some buildings) logic to how these numbers are derived – but I’d like to point out three things that, in my opinion, quantify that Kunitz may not be over the hill quite yet.

=His hits per game number of 2.85 in 2014-15 was the best of his career, and his plus-100 hit ratio the second-best.

=Kunitz accumulated a takeaway rate of .419 in 2014-15, another best-of-his-career statistic.

=The 70 shots Kunitz blocked translated into a per-game rate of .946, which is the second-highest of his career.

So, I know Kunitz didn’t score. That doesn’t need pointed out any longer. But if the guy is physically able to assert himself, drives possession and has no downward trajectory when it comes to goal production, why couldn’t this be an outlier?

Something to think about anyway, right?

Development camp tomorrow. Talk to yinz from there.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



July 11, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Podcast: Mackey on TribLIVE Radio


I joined Guy Junker on TribLIVE Radio — it would appear Ken Laird was actually given a day off; I need to look into this — Friday morning to talk some pucks. Fun as always.

Take a listen here. Just makes you long for hockey season, no?

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



July 10, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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Lovejoy: ‘It eats at me’


Ben Lovejoy has spent this summer enjoying his lakeside cottage in New Hampshire.

Not a bad gig, one would think.

Although Lovejoy hasn’t gotten much of a respite from how the 2014-15 season ended.

“Every day,” Lovejoy answered when I asked the Penguins defenseman how frequently he thought about this past season’s stretch run and five-game playoff appearance. “Nobody is happy with how the season ended. It was an incredibly difficult end to the regular season. It was an incredible difficult playoff.

“Anytime I’m not or we aren’t successful, it eats at me. I think about it all the time. Think about what went wrong. Think about ways we could have done it better and hopefully will do it in the future.”

The acquisition of Lovejoy from Anaheim for Simon Despres at the trade deadline became a polarizing move for Penguins fans. Where Lovejoy fits within the 2015-16 Penguins is also an intriguing question, in my opinion, which is why I called Lovejoy on Wednesday evening.

Let’s assume Olli Maatta and Kris Letang are healthy and stay that way. There’s your top pair. The second pairing could likely be Derrick Pouliot and Ian Cole. That leaves Rob Scuderi, Lovejoy, Brian Dumoulin and Tim Erixon (acquired in the Phil Kessel trade) competing for two spots.

After laying out that scenario, I asked Lovejoy how he’s approaching this upcoming season.

“For eight professional seasons, I’ve been battling to play in the NHL,” Lovejoy said. “I feel I come back to camp every year fighting for playing time. I plan to do that again in September.”

Take a minute and put down those pitchforks. Quick detour here. Now more than four months removed from the trade deadline, let’s take a closer look at this trade and why things didn’t exactly work out the way anyone planned.

Player GP SCA60 SA60 5v5 G Diff. GA60 TOI%
Despres 59 24.9 26.53 6 2.12 30.62
Lovejoy 40 23.74 27.31 1 1.78 32.99
Player GP SCA60 SA60 5v5 G Diff. GA60 TOI%
Despres 16 20.1 25.23 -3 3.13 34.13
Lovejoy 19 25.36 27.83 -7 2.47 38.23

1. Look at Lovejoy’s TOI%. Jumps from 32.99 with Anaheim to 38.23 with Pittsburgh. Letang had a 2014-15 TOI% of 37.51. Given the injuries and what role Lovejoy was thrust into, what did you think was going to happen? Lovejoy was playing entirely too much.Couple points here:

2. The five-on-five goal differential — a stat that carries a ton of weight around the league and especially with this coaching staff — is ugly, Lovejoy’s going from +1 to -7. Funny, though, how that’s an eight-point swing, and no one points out how Despres’ five-on-five goal differential dropped by nine goals.

3. Similarly, Despres five-on-five — all these numbers are five-on-five, by the way — GA60 also spiked a little, no? From 2.12 to 3.13. Haven’t heard that pointed out much.

This is not a personal defense of Lovejoy. That happening wouldn’t matter much for either of us, especially after I learned last night about how averse he is to reading ANYTHING.

It’s more a rational look at something that could absolutely improve come September and October. It’s also something that I think will be entirely realistic if, say, Lovejoy winds up on the third pairing, playing 18-20 minutes a night or less.

In the meantime, Lovejoy has been sticking to his schedule — same trainer for nine years; up at 6:45 a.m.; work out from 8:30-11 a.m.; spends the rest of the day with his wife and daughter.

“I pride myself on being really fit, being strong, being fast,” Lovejoy said. “I feel that’s a very important part of my game. Every year I feel like I’m in really good shape when I show up to camp. I plan to do that again when I come in late August.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



July 9, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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What’s Mike Johnston been up to?


Penguins coach Mike Johnston isn’t really a day-off kind of guy.

He told us as much on locker-cleanout day.

Which is why, in his first offseason as an NHL head coach, Johnston isn’t exactly spending the summer on a beach somewhere.

Johnston has been busy at several conferences and learning opportunities, things he calls “professional development.”

“I’ve always been like that,” Johnston said. “You can’t stop learning or looking. It’s not that you’re going to change, but certain things will hit you and they’ll add to what you can do. I think as coaches we have to stay on the cutting edge of the game. There are new rules coming in with the overtime. You want to stay one step ahead of what people are trying to do.”

The first was a Roger Neilson Coaching Clinic, where Johnston joined three other NHL coaches, along with coaches from junior and college hockey and a few sports psychologists.

“The reason I accepted the invitation to speak was in part so I could be there and just listen,” Johnston said. “There are two and three things out of each presentation that you take and say, ‘Geez, that’s interesting. I’m going to have to take it back and discuss it with our guys.’ ”

Two weeks ago, Johnston attended a leadership conference in New York City with good friend Willie Desjardins, the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

According to Johnston, the conference included coaches from the NFL, NBA and even a few international soccer teams.

Johnston is also exploring the idea of traveling to Europe to see how their hockey teams train.

“I’ve tried to look for opportunities in leadership, hockey and the one in Europe, to observe how they do things from the perspective of doing something really different in the NHL,” Johnston said.

Johnston is also looking forward to Penguins development camp, which will start next Tuesday.

It will be his first opportunity to talk face-to-face with new American Hockey League coach Mike Sullivan, Sullivan’s new assistant, Jay Leach, and continue conversations with his NHL staff.

“We’re going to have some real good meetings,” Johnston said. “We’re going to present back and forth, talk about some different things and challenge each other on some ideas of how we want to do things for next year.”

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



July 7, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Development Camp Roster


From Angello to Zlobin, here are some brief scouting reports on the 37 players the Penguins invited to development camp.

The camp begins Tuesday, July 14 and ends with a controlled scrimmage at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 18. Two quick notes before we get into the scouting reports.

First, Scott Wilson (wrist surgery) and Tyler Biggs (partially severed Achilles tendon) will be there but won’t skate.

Second, assistant general manager Jason Botterill said the other day that the Penguins will probably add a goalie on an AHL contract to round out the depth chart at the position. That indicates to me that Matt Murray will be the No. 1 in Wilkes-Barre while Tristan Jarry and a yet-to-be-signed free agent will duke it out for the No. 2 spot on the AHL roster.

Now to the prospects:


Matt Murphy is a free agent defenseman who could earn a contract at development camp. (

Matt Murphy is a free agent defenseman who could earn a contract at development camp. (


6-2, 183, 19

A sixth-round pick in 2013, Birks is a long-term project. He’s expected to be a freshman at Michigan Tech in the fall. He’s a tall, mobile, right-handed shot with offensive upside.


6-3, 210, 22

Another tall, mobile defenseman, the undrafted Kulevich just finished his sophomore year at Colgate. He made the all-tournament team at the Three Rivers Classic at Consol in 2014.


6-0, 190, 18

Played with Auston Matthews, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL draft, and Casey Fitzgerald, son of Penguins assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, on the U.S. national team development program under-18 team last season. Committed to UConn. Not particularly big or fast, but smart and sound.


6-2, 208, 20

Here’s a guy I could see the Penguins signing. Big guy, good skater, 18 goals and 66 points in 123 games in the Q the last two years. Six goals and 11 points in 22 games to help Quebec to the league finals last season.


6-0, 208, 21

Not much more developing for Pouliot to do. He’s an NHL player right now. But because he had shoulder surgery, he missed a little bit of this process last summer, so he can go through it now.


6-3, 192, 22

Spent most of his first two pro seasons with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, so the time is now to take a step forward. He’s physical enough to pull it off. Decision making with the puck is a trouble spot.


6-1, 195, 20

Sturdy defender has been a mainstay on UConn’s blue line the last two seasons. A fourth-round pick in 2013.


6-0, 194, 21

Heart-and-soul, captain type for Penticton of the BCHL. Here’s a You Tube clip of a brutal hit he delivered.


6-4, 220, 22

He spent most of his rookie season in Wheeling, but I’ve always thought he has potential. Not great with the puck, but he gets shots through. Big, right-handed and willing to mix it up.


5-11, 181, 21

One of the players I’m most looking forward to watching. He had a great sophomore year at Union (31 points in 34 games), but he’s undersized and I really don’t have a good feel for the kind of game he plays.



Sam Lafferty is from Hollidaysburg. He had a good freshman year at Brown. (

Sam Lafferty is from Hollidaysburg. He had a good freshman year at Brown. (


6-4, 197, 19

An interesting long-term project. Big centerman with snarl. Committed to Cornell.


5-10, 176, 22

Didn’t produce as a rookie in the AHL, but he’s got speed and a confrontational style of play.


6-2, 205, 22

Acquired in the Phil Kessel deal. Big, fourth-line winger type. Won’t skate next week as he is recovering from a partially severed Achilles tendon.


6-0, 185, 20

Seems to be developing nicely in three seasons as Minnesota State-Mankato. The Penguins don’t have much in the way of center prospects who have already turned pro, so seeing what they have in Blueger and Jake Guentzel is important.


6-2, 185, 22

Slovakian winger with good size. Was the only player on RPI’s roster with a positive plus-minus rating as a junior last season.


6-0, 172, 20

A sixth-round pick in 2013, he was second on the team with 12 goals as a sophomore at Maine last season.


5-11, 175, 21

A stud on the power play as a rookie in Wilkes-Barre last season. Not nearly as effective even strength. There’s some potential here.


6-4, 205, 23

A consistent contributor for Robert Morris the last two seasons.


5-10, 167, 20

A third-round pick in 2014, Guentzel has averaged a point per game in two seasons as Nebraska-Omaha. You wonder if his production can translate to the pros because he’s small, but there’s no reason to think it can’t. A prospect to keep an eye on.


6-1, 184, 21

A seventh-round pick in 2013. Has played two seasons at Clarkson. Projects as an energy-line type of forward.


6-1, 184, 20

Fourth-round pick in 2014 from Hollidaysburg had a nice freshman year at Brown (12 points in 31 games). Says he patterns his game after Brandon Sutter.


6-2, 211, 19

Hasn’t done much scoring in three years in the OHL, but he’s a powerfully built kid. Practiced with WBS during the playoffs.


6-4, 208, 23

Troy’s son is a modern power forward who had 10 goals as a senior at the University of Denver and a successful late-season tryout with Norfolk in the AHL. Signed an AHL deal with the Penguins in June.


6-0, 200, 21

A good skater who projects as a penalty killing centerman in the NHL.


6-7, 200, 18

Penn State recruit is every bit the 6-7 he’s listed at. A long-term project, but the tools are there.


5-11, 192, 23

With so much of their salary cap tied up in stars, the Penguins are going to need young, cheap fourth liners who can skate. Rust fits that description well. He’s got a little more offensive skill than he gets credit for too.


5-9, 175, 23

Given his offensive creativity and experience, armed with a newly signed NHL deal, Sheary should shine against this level of competition.


5-11, 176, 20

Another guy I’m looking forward to seeing. Had 18 goals in 52 games with Plzen in the Czech league last season and played on a line with Jaromir Jagr at the World Championships. Those factors indicate he’s closer to the NHL than most 2015 draft picks.


6-0, 180, 18

By reputation, Sprong is a stick-handling whiz with high-end offensive instincts. If that’s the case, he could be a direct replacement for Kasperi


6-3, 209, 21

Didn’t get to play much in an end-of-season visit to Wilkes-Barre due to injury, but he’s an amazing stick-handler for a guy his size. Not sure he’s a prototypical fourth-line center, but he’ll get a chance to compete for that job on the Penguins’ opening-night roster.


6-0, 192, 20

Some scouting reports say he’s a great skater. Some say just a little above average. Would like to see for myself. Coming off an excellent freshman year at Western Michigan.


5-11, 183, 23

A good all-around prospect with speed and feistiness. I knew he was favoring a hand or wrist during the WBS playoffs last season. I didn’t realize it required surgery. It did, so he won’t be skating next week.


5-11, 209, 22

Perhaps the most mysterious Penguins forward prospect. As a rookie in Wilkes-Barre two years ago, he didn’t put up numbers in the regular season, but he back-checked hard and showed a two-way game. Then he scored some huge goals in the playoffs. Last year was a wash-out due to shoulder surgery. What kind of prospect is this guy? Middle-six winger? Fourth-liner with some hands? Roster filler when call-ups hit? Career minor leaguer? I have no idea.



Sean Maguire is back in action after sitting out last season on a medical redshirt. (Getty Images)

Sean Maguire is back in action after sitting out last season on a medical redshirt. (Getty Images)


6-2, 194, 20

Another intriguing name on this list. Last year at this time, coming off a Memorial Cup with Edmonton, Jarry was a big junior hockey star. Last season, Edmonton wasn’t as loaded and Jarry’s numbers, naturally, took a hit. In the meantime, Matt Murray took off and became a big deal. Where does Jarry fit in?


6-2, 202, 22

Had a great freshman year at Boston University, then a so-so sophomore year, then sat out all of last season with a medical redshirt. So it’s probably a positive sign for him that he’s attending this camp. He’s known as a battling, athletic goalie. If he refines his game a bit, he could join Murray and Jarry in the top tier of Penguins goalie prospects.


6-4, 178, 21

Like many good goalies, when Murray is playing well, pucks hit him in the chest. That’s because he reads plays and challenges shooters very well. No need to rush him to the NHL. He’s only 21. But he’s the real deal.


6-2, 195, 23

Skoff is a McKees Rocks native who played in the Penguins Cup final with Montour in 2009. Penn State has had three good goalies the last two years, so it’s been a battle for the net. Skoff has won that battle more often than not and has pro potential.


July 7, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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TribLive Radio Podcast 7/7


I talked to Trib Live Radio’s Guy and Josh this morning about a bunch of Penguins topics — who I’m looking forward to seeing at development camp, what happens when 40 percent of a team’s cap space is invested in four players, etc. — so check it out.


July 5, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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No arbitration for Penguins


The deadline for NHL restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration came and went at 5 p.m., and no Penguins players filed. Here’s a list of the 23 players league-wide who did, headlined by Arizona’s Michael Boedker, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Detroit’s Gustav Nyqvist and the Rangers’ Derek Stepan, as well as former Penguins prospect Philip Samuelsson, who is now with the Coyotes.

The Penguins have four unsigned restricted free agents — Beau Bennett, Brian Dumoulin, Bobby Farnham and Dominik Uher.

Only RFAs who meet certain criteria in terms of age and service time are eligible for arbitration. By my math, only Dumoulin and Farnham were eligible to file, and they did not.

These RFA contract situations, especially for players who aren’t big stars and thus aren’t likely candidates for offer sheets from other clubs, usually get worked out pretty quickly and without much wrangling. There’s no reason to believe the cases of these four Penguins RFAs will be any different.

Bye for now,



July 5, 2015
by Jason Mackey

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What would you pay for Plotnikov?


Hope everyone had a Happy (and safe) Fourth of July. I’m going to be off for the next week, so make sure to follow my colleague, Jonathan Bombulie (Twitter: @BombulieTrib), for any news.

I will likely only be tweeting about Fare Thee Well Night No. 3, the final Grateful Dead show ever.

I’ll leave you with something that Mike Colligan (, and Forbes) reported via Twitter on Saturday.

Russian winger Sergei Plotnikov (who’s pretty excited, by the way) will work off of a one-year, entry-level contract that could be worth as much as $3.78 million. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer.

There’s also, according to Colligan, a European Assignment Clause that means he can go back to the KHL if he’s demoted or doesn’t make the Penguins.

Here’s how the deal breaks down:

$832,500 = base contract
$92,500 = signing bonus
$925,000 = salary
$850,000 = max Schedule A bonuses
$2,000,000 = max Schedule B bonuses

Schedule A and B bonuses are explained here, but it’s basically player-achieved, statistical milestones for the first, league awards for the second.

And although it’s considered a $3.78 million cap hit, bonuses achieved can be “rolled over” or applied to next year. So Plotnikov’s $3.78 million isn’t necessarily the same as Chris Kunitz’ $3.85 million cap hit.

Given the Penguins have spent, and will continue to spend, to the cap, we’re probably looking at some sort of spillover, but that would also mean they’re getting top-six-level production from a 25-year-old. Not bad.

But what kind of production?

We know Evgeni Malkin will definitely play with either Patric Hornqvist or Phil Kessel. Either that or the world has turned completely upside down. But assuming that does happen, I thought an interesting player comparable to draw for Plotnikov could be Jussi Jokinen — not James Neal but the other guy on Malkin’s line.

In 2013-14, Jokinen went for 21-36—57 in 81 games. He averaged .70 points per game, was a plus-12 (finishing fourth among forwards) and played 1,272 minutes (also fourth among forwards).

Say Plotnikov does the exact same thing. It’d be enough to trigger bonuses for goals, assists and TOI totaling $637,500. That would bring the cost of Plotnikov to $1,580,000, barring anything else for the Calder, an All-Star selection, etc.

Guessing you’d take that, no?

Be GRATEFUL to each other,


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