In the upcoming 2013-2014 NHL season the Pittsburgh Penguins will be the second oldest team in the league, behind only the New Jersey Devils. It might not be long, however, until the Penguins have the most aged roster in all of hockey. This summer, General Manager Ray Shero decided to keep Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, and extend Chris Kunitz, as well as bring back Rob Scuderi, a key member of the 2009 Stanley Cup team. In all, the Penguins gave these men a combined $40 million dollars in contracts that will keep them in Pittsburgh until they are all 37 or 38 years old. Looking at these contracts individually, it’s hard to complain at first glance. Dupuis and Kunitz both signed for less than what they could have received in the open market. And when you look at the contracts handed out this summer to guys like Ryan Clowe, Dave Clarkson, and Tyler Bozak, it would be easy to argue Scuderi might have been the only big name free agent who wasn’t overpaid in July’s free agent frenzy. While individually all these deals are of great value, the fact remains that the Penguins failed to win the Stanley Cup this year with an aging all star caliber lineup. Aside from the core of Crosby, Malkin, Neal, and Letang, the group of Penguins signed for the future is going to get old—-fast. I would love to see Shero and company add some youth to the Penguins lineup. It may seem like the team doesn’t have much cap to work with when you consider that the aforementioned core plus Marc-Andre Fleury consume about 50% or more of the Penguins salary cap. But when you look at all the other contending teams in the NHL, most of them have this issue. Consider this year’s Stanley Cup champions. The Chicago Blackhawks had around 47% of their salary cap going to their top 5 paid players. What made the Blackhawks a better team than the Penguins, however, wasn’t their top players. It was the depth they had on their 3rd and 4th lines with players like Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg, Andrew Shaw, and Bryan Bickell. Locking up so much money and so many years with veterans like Scuderi, Kunitz, and Dupuis can be risky business. Adding to the risk is that the organization hasn’t had much inexpensive, productive talent coming through its farm system lately. Hopefully Beau Bennett and Simon Despres can change that this year. There is still plenty of time left over the next 3 months for Ray Shero to infuse some youth into next season’s lineup. All indications point to Matt Niskanen’s days in the black and gold being numbered when you consider he is set to make more than $2 million next season. Guys like Jussi Jokinen, Deryk Engellend, and Tanner Glass could also be dealt. If the Penguins could deal any of these players for a young, fast, and inexpensive forward, I think they would be foolish not to make a move.

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