Samsdog wrote:If there's one area where I think the Penguins can restock from within, it's on defense. That said, I don't feel that it's all that wise a move to dump the Whitney's that could well be the best defenseman in the system in two years. The Penguins can't keep paying 13 million on three defenseman and 5 million on a goalie, to be sure, but I would say that trimming the fat in one area (Gonchar) if at all possible is the best way to go. The team is definitely in serious cap trouble, and on defense and down the middle is where the largest chunks of salary are concentrated.
IMO, second-tier, high-upside signings like Afinogenov aren't horrible moves; realistically, his open market price may not rise above 3 million, and he could easily plug Satan's role. Now I know someones going to tell me he has suffered the last two years, he's in Ruff's doghouse, but if he can be had at a reasonable price, then I see no reason not take him. Speedy guy, potentially very good, and if not then he'd be signed at a price low enough that he won't be totally immovable. Definitely something to look into, as this team can't afford to throw money at UFA's that are really established. I do agree with HenryHank that Afinogenov could be totally horrible and a waste of time, but with his current level of play I find it hard to say that his salary next year will be too much to warrant a gamble. Definitely can see the point of anyone who disagrees though, it is a bit of a stretch.
I would have been intrigued with Afinogenov in the $3 million area before the news about the cap staying where it is came out last week. At this point, $3 million, as low as it might seem, is a gamble for the Pens. They are looking at having $3-$5 million to repalce Satan, Fedotenko, and Sykora. Of the two Sabres, I think I'd rather have Kotalik. He plays a more physical game and seems to be better at playing a system. Assuming MT is in Pittsburgh, signing a guy like Afinogenov who doesn't listen to his coaches is just asking for a total bust.