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PHN Extra: Exploring Free-Agent Fourth-Line Centers

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Matt Stajan, Mark Letestu, Nick Shore: Photos Courtesy of NHL and Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins surprised most with news that restricted free agent Riley Sheahan was not tendered a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent and leaving the Penguins with a gap in their lineup. Sheahan and the Penguins could still agree to a deal, but Sheahan is now open to speak with other teams which could offer well more than his previous $2 million salary.

And so, like last summer, when the Penguins engaged in a great hunt for a third line center, they could chase a center from the pickings of the rest of the NHL unless they decide 23-year-old minor league prospect Teddy Bluegger is worth a shot.

A Penguins fourth-line center does not figure to get much ice this year, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Derick Brassard gobbling minutes and ice-time, so the Penguins have options with the type and fit of their bottom pivot. They could add muscle, or they could use the spot for speed.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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