Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fourth-Line Center Next Target for GM

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fourth-Line Center Next Target for GM

Article excerpt

The Penguins' search for a top-six winger ended when they acquired Phil Kessel from Toronto Wednesday. Their hunt for a fourth-line center continues.

That role was filled most recently by Maxim Lapierre, who was not resigned, and plugging that hole is on general manager Jim Rutherford's to-do list.

"We may or may not do something immediately," he said. "It depends on whether we think the right guy is there [in free agency] for different reasons. If not, we'll just be patient."

Rutherford said the ideal candidate is "a guy who can kill penalties and is good on faceoffs and is good in the room."

Rookie Oskar Sundqvist, who had a strong training camp last fall, could end up taking on that job.

"Sundqvist is a very strong candidate," Rutherford said. "He had a good camp, and he's not far away. But even if we got a center and Oskar's ready to go, we'll just move one of them to the wing.

"I don't want to close the door on Oskar. He's going to be a real good player."


Six former Penguins got new teams in free agency.

Veteran defenseman Paul Martin, the most coveted of the team's nine unrestricted free agents, signed a four-year deal with San Jose.

Forwards Blake Comeau (Colorado), Daniel Winnik (Toronto) and Steve Downie (Arizona), defenseman Taylor Chorney (Washington) and goalie Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders) also moved on on Day 1.

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson acted swiftly to get Martin.

"Paul is a versatile puck-moving veteran who enhances our younger group of talented defensemen," Wilson said in a statement. "He comes from a winning environment, is capable of playing heavy minutes and is accustomed to playing with high-end players. He was a player that we had targeted, and this is a place that Paul wanted to come play."

Comeau, who had a strong season while earning $700,000 from the Penguins, signed a three year deal worth $2.4 million per season.

"Blake is a versatile forward who is dependable and can be used in all situations," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said. …

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