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TribLIVE Radio podcast: Reviewing Penguins’ free agency

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

My weekly TribLIVE Radio show began with an open discussion about the Penguins’ many gains and losses in the opening of NHL free agency.

Here’s video of that segment:

Trib hockey writer Josh Yohe checked in from Consol Energy Center on the same topic, and one of the Steelers was the target of our weekly installment from Suckmeter.

Thanks for calling, emailing and listening!

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. cherokee23 says:

    Steve Downie! Thoughts?

  2. Andrew says:

    Islanders have signed Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to 4-year contracts, will be a team to be reckoned with.

  3. chethejet1 says:

    Do they play in goal? Iles need a goalie big time. But yes nice additions with the existing talent.

  4. Andrew says:

    Does Halak count? They do need some defensemen.

  5. aaron says:

    So much for Geno’s buddy coming to Pittsburgh. Do we have a second line aside from Malkin? Yikes…


    Package deal. Grabovski and Kulemin were looking to play together, and the Isles got it done… by overpaying both. Still, the Islanders get two top-six forwards and, more importantly, they get above the cap floor. As far as Garth Snow’s moves go, this is a win for NY.

  7. Scott says:

    I think the Erhoff signing was actually a coup and frankly maybe saved the Pens OVERSPENDING on Kulemin. Let’s look at the facts. Paul Martin gets hurt, often. Kris Letang is recovering from several injuries from last year. Matta had MAJOR shoulder surgery, and so did Pouliott. The blue line when the puck drops in Oct looks like Martin/Bortuzzo, Letang/Erhoff, Scuderi/Despres with Dumolin/Harrington/Samuelsson pushing for 5/6 time. I expect Scuderi to see lots of press box this year.

    The bottom 6 forwards look better than last year. I suspect the top 6 gets addressed throughout the season.


    I see DK’s point on Downie that he is adding a potentially unstable element to the locker room, but at $1M for one season, the Pens can afford to absorb this contract if the relationship goes south. Personally, I think Downie has a lot to prove. Like Matt Cooke, he’s got more talent than his antics would indicate, he’s a bastard to play against, and he’s not out of place alongside talented linemates. Oh, and Downie hits like a cement truck.

    Downie’s got so much more upside than Tanner Glass that it’s not even a contest. And, after Glass signed a three year deal with NYR at $1.45M per, Downie is an absolute bargain. This is the type of under-the-radar move that used to be Shero’s bread-and-butter.

  9. hockeymonster says:

    What makes you think NYI spent too much?

  10. hockeymonster says:

    Cap floor yes, but not sold on grabovski or kulemin as impact players. Tavares and okposo need to have career years again and grabner and his like need to better than they were. But i agree with van slyke that they could use a revamp on D.

  11. Scott says:

    He’s a minus player that scored 23 goals in the last THREE years. 4/$16m is just crazy. Pens are better off trading for a Top 6 winger to get slot value with all the money tied up in 87, 71 & 58.

  12. Scott says:

    The Engo signing makes you wonder if they would have taken Scuderi off the Pens. Perhaps Burke just wanted a fighter…

  13. Pat says:

    Every move the Pens have made this offseason has been geared towards depth. We trade Neal — a top 6 goal scorer — to bring in two young, physical, two-way players with potential to put up better numbers outside of Nashville. Then go out and sign Comeau and Downie — players with speed, puck possession skills, PHYSICALITY, and the ability to put the puck in the net (each posting a 20+ goal season in their career) to play on lines 3/4. Re-sign Goc, who is strong on faceoffs and will be one of the best 4th line centers in the league.

    All of these moves provide options. If we decide matchups dictate an advantage with Geno skating on Sid’s line then we move Sutter/Goc up a line and slide Adams over to center the fourth line. If comeau, downie, or spaling start strong then they might get consideration to play top 6 minutes. This depth, speed, possession, line-up flexiblity, and PHYSICALITY are what was sorely missing last season in the playoffs. There is only so much cap room to spend and I think this is a sound strategy moving forward. Accumulate depth and, as Rutherford noted, add pieces in-season via trade for any potential weakness heading into the playoffs.

  14. hockeymonster says:

    You lost me at adams. Fortunately spaling can be the 5th center.

  15. cherokee23 says:

    Lol. I hear ya!

  16. chethejet1 says:

    Adams being released doesn’t hit the cap cost. It is a hit either way. But I want him gone for reasons he is done and adds nothing. This year will be interesting for the style, effort and expectations of the team. JR has a simple directive. Change the direction of the team. I expect Sid and Geno and others to get back to a high energy style of attack.

  17. Karen says:

    I completely agree with Dejan that GMJR is trying to downplay our need for a top 6 player. I’m starting to think he likes/doesn’t mind being thought of as a fool. And he knows we need another player but isn’t willing to overpay at this point. He doesn’t seem to be caught up in the Free Agency Circus and except for signing Downie has made all smart, cheap moves. Granted we’ll have to see how they all play together under the new system. But I think there’s still time to get a top 6 wing who will fit in and we don’t have to overpay for…

  18. hockeymonster says:

    PM has one year left so its fun to speculate about possible winger coming back. Toffoli or King anyone? Boston has cap issues, marchand perhaps(although not cheap)? Might be a little much with downie but i dunno, could be entertaining.

  19. DJ says:

    Toffoli in a heartbeat.

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