This is how I think the roster is going to shape up as the regular season nears.
1. Kapanen makes the team, at least for 9 games. If he can show something then, he stays. There is no need to rush him, but early indications seem to be that he can handle the physical side of things (although still needs to bulk up). I would like to see him make the team, and show he has the ability to play in the top 6. If he can make the team for the whole season, I would rest him at times during the season by getting Bennett into the lineup in his place. If they could play Kapanen 50-60 games, and Bennett for 20-30 games, I think Kapanen would be a lot fresher come playoff time. I by no means think Kapanen is a lock to make the team, but if he does, and sticks for more than just the 9 games, I'd like to see him play about 3/4 of the season to avoid breakdown in playoffs.
2. I'd like to see Payerl start on the 4th line. He brings that heavy element this team needs. I believe it was supposed to happen last year but he got hurt. Would like to seem him start on the big club.
3. I think Scuderi will be given every chance to show if he can still play, and in Johnston's system. If he can't prove he is not a liability when Maata returns, I think he will be the 7th defenseman, sitting out and playing spot duty as injuries occur. In that type of role, he should be ok, rather than being counted on for 80+ games.
4. Even though he is out of waiver options, I don't think Samuelsson makes the team. It's just a hunch, but again, the talk over the summer almost never included his name in the mix. Coming out of dev camp, Pens seemed to be high on Dumoulin the most. That could all change, as it will be up to Dumoulin, Harrington, and Samuelsson to prove the most at training camp. I think after his injury time, Pouliot could be given a shot in January (time to heal, and time to get in game shape in AHL before NHL debut).
5. With possible cap issues, I think Tomas Greiss needs to come in and show a huge improvement over Zatkoff to justify the extra 400K in cap money. I just dont' see it happening.
Chris Kunitz ($3.850m) / Evgeni Malkin ($9.500m) / Kasperi Kapanen ($0.925m)
Patric Hornqvist ($4.250m) / Sidney Crosby ($8.700m) / Pascal Dupuis ($3.750m)
Nick Spaling ($2.000m) / Brandon Sutter ($3.575m) / Steve Downie ($1.000m)
Blake Comeau ($0.700m) / Marcel Goc ($1.200m) / Adam Payerl ($0.627m)
Craig Adams ($0.700m) /
Kris Letang ($7.250m) / Simon Despres ($0.900m)
Christian Ehrhoff ($4.000m) / Paul Martin ($5.000m)
Robert Bortuzzo ($0.600m) / Rob Scuderi ($3.375m)
Brian Dumoulin ($0.832m) /
Marc-Andre Fleury ($5.000m)
Jeff Zatkoff ($0.600m)
Thomas Greiss ($0.075m)
Beau Bennett ($0.900m)
Olli Maatta ($0.894m)
CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
(estimations for 2014-15)
SALARY CAP: $69,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $68,408,333; BONUSES: $308,333
CAP SPACE (22-man roster): $591,667
When Maata comes back, and Pouliot becomes healthy, I think we could end up seeing something more along the lines of:
That is a pretty solid top 4, and depending on how Despres adjusts this year, the 5-6 pair could be pretty good too.