The 2012 NHL Free Agency period is set to start on Sunday, July 1st and for most people in the city of Pittsburgh it is like Christmas in July. Fans go crazy at this time and cannot wait to see what big addition Ray Shero will add to the Penguins.
And the fans and the city of Pittsburgh have every reason to be excited this year. Ray Shero is just fueling the fire with each step. He first starts out last Thursday by announcing he offered Jordan Staal a ten-year deal. Staal later rejected the offer and made Shero furious. Shero then dealt Staal to Carolina and his current contract. He also saved money because he never spent it on Staal. The deal was done right before the draft and announced during the draft. That just fueled the fire of what is to come.
The next move for Shero and The Pens was the trade of Zbynek Michalek later on the first day of the draft back to the Phoenix Coyotes. That unloaded even more money and just made fans wonder: what is that money going to be spent on?
The final piece of the puzzle came when Shero signed Sidney Crosby to a long term deal. Crosby will now be here for the duration of his career and prime. But announcing it three days before free agency starts is just pure genius.
So now the fans and the city of Pittsburgh can only speculate of what is going on in Ray Shero's mind right now. Fans can only guess who will be signed. The obvious guess is winger Zach Parise. He is a prime candidate. Shero saved money by trading Staal and Michalek and are shopping Paul Martin, trying to unload his large contract. The Penguins can afford him and another top free agent easily if that happens. Parise and Crosby are close friends. And Crosby signing a long term deal, just gives even more of a reason for Parise to sign a deal in Pittsburgh, because he is pretty much guaranteed to play with Crosby for the duration in Pittsburgh.
The other big signing that all signs are pointing to that Shero will go after is Defenseman Ryan Suter. Suter is the top defenseman in the free agent pool this year and will demand a huge contract. Shero has the money for the big deal with Suter and a deal for Parise if he can get rid of Martin's huge contract. He has also stressed how he wants a top D-man partner to go along with Kris Letang. So why not Suter?
Ray Shero is the only one who actually knows what will happen when July 1st hits. For the rest of us, it will just be like Christmas. Have a safe holiday everyone.