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This post is just going to be a quick hit on some former Penguins, who are unrestricted free agents, that I think, and believe, could be good candidates for redemption with the organization. Some players never really had an opportunity or maybe played under a different system that did not allow them to shine, but I feel could adequately fit in this system.
Hindsight--and at the time--you know the Penguins ultimately won the trade that sent Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars in exchange for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. However, while both players have departed from the Penguins, Goligoski has developed nicely in the Big D and become a coveted Top-4 defenseman in the league.
Currently with the Arizona Coyotes, and probably looking for a contract of over a $4 million AAV, there is absolutely no way the sharpshooting defenseman could return, but it would be cool, eh?
Let's be honest, for as much dumb play as Steve Downie brought to the Penguins, he had a good year with the Pens in 2014-15. Better than many expected. Playing in Arizona this past season at a cheap price, Downie did not contribute as prominently as a year ago.
We Pittsburgh fans love to have that one reckless tough guy on the team just as an insurance policy. Hell, many were thrilled when Tom Sestito would get called-up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Downie could be a nice, cheap signing and maybe under Mike Sullivan could find another gear to his game.
Once touted as one of the better young defensive prospects for the Penguins, they ultimately lost him to rival New York Islanders where he developed into a hard-nosed, gritty blue liner. Under the Dan Bylsma reign, Strait never saw a ton of ice time or minutes with the big squad, but he could be a nice depth addition if both Ben Lovejoy and Justin Schultz do leave on July 1st.
Like I mentioned with Downie, we love mayhem. So let's get Bobby Farnham back!
Farnham was picked up off of waivers by the New Jersey Devils and contributed to a much higher level than any had anticipated. He's a fiery guy who will throw hits, skate like a maniac and get his team going. He's already built up a bit of a cult following in Pittsburgh during his short call-ups and I believe could easily slide into the fourth-line without any issue.
To me, Conor Sheary was this year's Brian Gibbons, just a bit more successful. Gibbons was beloved for his speed and tenacity, however, never quite had the offensive finishing prowess that was to be desired. When he departed, many within the fanbase were concerned with his departure, simply for his speed. Boy, were those concerns halted with the emergence of Sheary and Bryan Rust.
Gibbons, I think could flourish in this system in a limited role. He would be a player that could play in the AHL, be called up when the inevitable injuries take place and contribute a bit here and there offensively. A cheap re-signing, why not?
Essentially, reread what I wrote about Gibbons.
Kennedy was a fixture on "The Third Line" when Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke called Pittsburgh home and was a decent accent to that line. He's feisty, can score, and can still skate. The 29-year-old may not find his way back to the Burgh, but he'd be a nice depth addition.
Megna showed glimpses of breaking out with the Penguins on several different occasions, but could never find a way to get it done. I believe those in the Shero regime were pulling for the kid, but were disappointed time and time again.
This past season with the Rangers, Megna had another fifteen minutes of fame after a good little stretch. I believe he can still play in this league on a full-time basis, but with this Penguins team, he'd be a great depth piece who could contribute in both the AHL and NHL when called upon.
Because dammit, I like the guy. I may be the only Penguins fan that did--or does-- but I loved Sill and everything he had brought to the organization as a whole. He'll always be one of my favorites, so this is clearly a selfish plug, but it's my page and that's that.
Of course there is a ton of work and consideration that goes into free agency, the ordeal with Marc-Andre Fleury, and a host of other concerns that even we fans don't know about, but it would be pretty cool, in my opinion, to see a couple of these guys make a return.
The one thing I believe with this team is that--aside from speed--is they are resilient and determined to prove everyone wrong. This list of players encapsulates those qualities. Who knows what will happen, but out of this list, I feel that they should make a strong run at Strait and Farnham. They're probably the two most affordable, productive names that could be brought in.
Hope you enjoyed.
(And save your Sill-hate crap for someone else)
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