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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pens Send Whitney To Anaheim For Kunitz

I just saw the news that the Penguins have traded Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

Part of me feels that this is a good trade because it clears some cap space, and by some I mean $250K. The good news is that Kunitz is signed through 2010-2011.

So far this season Kunitz has 16 goals and 19 assists, which makes me wonder why he's being paid $3.75 million when his career high in points is only 60.

What Kunitz gives the Pens is a more reliable wing for Sidney Crosby. I still think the Pens could have gotten a better winger, but something tells me Ray Shero isn't done and that something big is going to go down in the next week.

Perhaps Jordan Staal is heading out of town as has been discussed in a variety of places.

As for Tangradi at 6-4 221, this could be a stud in the making, He's second in the OHL in scoring with 87 points in 52 games. Only highly touted John Tavares is ahead of him.

This kid has the makings of a true power forward and that excites me.

By getting rid of Whitney, the Penguins have eased the logjam on defense and it will allow Kris Letang to get back into the lineup. Letang is rounding into a very solid offensive defenseman, but still needs work in his own end.

The top 6 defensemen are:

Sergei Gonchar - Brooks Orpik
Rob Scuderi - Hal Gill
Kris Letang - Mark Eaton

The Penguins also have Alex Goligoski waiting in the wings, but there are some rumors out there that he could be dealt as well. If that's the case, we better get a lot back.

Now as for new line combos up front let's shake things up a bit. I've suggested before moving Staal to a wing to better utilize his scoring ability. With that said, here's my suggested lines:

Kunitz - Crosby - Dupuis
Sykora - Malkin - Staal
Satan - Talbot - Fedotenko
Cooke - Kennedy - Godard

If the Penguins still want to keep Staal as a center, move him to the 2nd line center and move Evgeni Malkin out to a wing. It's not like he hasn't proven that he can play wing or anything.

Ideally, the Penguins can find a way to move Miroslav Satan to free up his $3.5 million contract heading into the offseason. Ruslan Fedotenko probably won't be back either at $2.5 million, so that already would free up six million in cap space by either dealing those two or letting them walk.

It's also pretty safe to assume that Philippe Boucher won't be back. Yes, he's still on the roster and making $2.5 million. He had foot surgery in January is is out indefinitely. He's also a UFA after the season, so he can walk too.

There's $8.5 million you free up just from letting those three guys walk. That should be more than enough to go out and get a couple of solid wingers to help out the depth up front, but that's also assuming Shero is fully happy with the now current roster.

Something tells me he's not.

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