Everyone says the Pittsburgh Penguins need a winger to compliment Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Why? They have one in James Neal. They also have two other ones in Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. So why get other another winger this offseason? It makes no sense to me.
If you are the Penguins you address the need that got you knocked out of the playoffs in the first round and that is the defense. They gave up five goals a game in the playoffs. That is an alarming rate and unless you score ten goals a game (like they did in Game 4) you will not win. So address the defense. This is what they need to do:
1. Cut Paul Martin: The 31-year old will be entering his third year of a five year deal next season and should be in his prime. Instead, he is looking like he is in the tail end of his career, with only playing three games in the playoffs this season before bowing out with concussion like-symptoms. The Penguins can save a lot of money by cutting him now and bringing up Simon Despres, who is ready for the NHL.
2. Bring in a New Back-up Goaltender- Brent Johnson had a great run while he was here in Pittsburgh, but it is time for the 35-year old to say good-bye. The Penguins need a solid back-up, even if it is Brad Theissen. The Flower cannot play almost 70 games again. He was too tired when it came time for the playoffs.
3. Bring in a Shutdown Defensemen- The Penguins missed a defenseman who could shut-down the high-flying Flyers in the Playoffs. A true shut-down defenseman, like a Rob Scuderi, is needed for next year. Bring in Brad Stuart or even Hal Gill for another season just to solidify the defense. Either one won't be a huge cap hit.
Offense can wait because it is not broken and is doing fine. There are needs, such as signing Crosby and Jordan Staal to long-term deals, but the defense needs fixed as soon as possible. Besides, defense wins championships.