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3 Buyout Candidates Could Help the Penguins, Including an Old Friend

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Pittsburgh Penguins trade: Patric Hornqvist Pittsburgh Penguins

What do the Pittsburgh Penguins need this offseason? Aside from millions more to sign Kris Letang, the team must fill out its forwards crew. There could be significant departures beyond Letang and Evgeni Malkin, as Rickard Rakell is a UFA, they have a pair of RFA middle-six wingers. Also, Jason Zucker’s health is a looming question, and Evan Rodrigues could bolt via the free-agent market.

That’s five of the six Penguins wingers after top liners Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel.

So, yes, the Penguins will need significant help in the NHL free-agent market. In addition to the expiring contracts, the market could include several players whose teams terminated their contract in the NHL buyout window, which began on July 1 and ends on July 12.

Several names could be what the Pittsburgh Penguins need. As Penguins president of hockey ops Brian Burke mused to our Dave Molinari this week, the Penguins hit on some deals shopping at K-Mart last summer.

The Penguins have Drew O’Connor waiting in the wings to take a third or fourth-line role at an affordable $750,000. Also, GM Ron Hextall mentioned Valterri Puustinen in his season-ending press conference. Puustinen had 20 goals in the AHL last season but was also a minus-15. Maybe not yet for the former seventh-round pick.

Perhaps another blue light special or three can be found, again, in the $1 million range.

**Zach Kassian, Edmonton

The rugged winger isn’t afraid to be physical, nor is Kassian afraid to gently lay his gloves on the ice and discuss things in a less than calm manner with opponents who run afoul of the rules.

Perhaps if someone, anyone, punched New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba in Game 1, he would not have been a wrecking ball in the Round One series? He can play in the corners and the tough areas. He no longer kills penalties in Edmonton but has been part of the PK in the past.

The 31-year-old makes $3.2 million but is a genuine candidate to be a buyout victim this week, thus hitting the UFA market. He would be a solid fourth-line addition for the Penguins.

**Petr Mrazek, Toronto

At first glance, Toronto would be silly to buy out Mrazek, who had a down year in the blue and white. They signed him to a three-year deal with a $3.8 million AAV, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are quite possibly losing starter Jack Campbell to free agency.

Yet there is rampant speculation in the great white north that Mrazek could be bought out. He posted just an .888 save percentage in 18 games last season with a 12-6-0 record. However, the 30-year-old goalie has playoff experience and enough pedigree that Toronto GM Kyle Dubas signed him to platoon with Campbell.

The Penguins could use a backup to Tristan Jarry, who has some playoff experience, yes?

**Patric Hornqvist, Florida

Stanley Cup-winning goal, 2017.

The crazy Viking was relegated to the Florida Panthers’ fourth line. However, in fairness, Florida had a stacked lineup. Few teams could match the talent and depth in the regular season.

The arguments against Hornqvist are easy. He’s 35 years old, he’s not a penalty killer, and the Penguins PP1 is full. He’s neither the best skater nor the most versatile player.

And yet, he could bring a lot back to the Penguins, who traded him for Mike Matheson and Colton Sceviour in 2020. Matheson has reclaimed his best hockey, so it is hard to say the Penguins didn’t win the trade, but Hornqvist helped transform the culture in Florida.

The Pittsburgh Penguins could use a little sandpaper, a jolt of energy, and a third-line winger capable of 15 goals. Hornqvist very well may have that left in him, and if he hits the market, he could be the blue light special that lights a few red lights, too.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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[…] are some buyout candidates for the offseason, and a few names that may stand out to our rival Pittsburgh Penguins. […]

Fredrick
Fredrick
1 month ago

I wouldn’t mind bringing in Kassian or Hornqvist. Both bring something which has been missing from the team since Hornqvist left which is a net front dirty goal type player. It would be nice to have those types of players both during the season and during the playoffs. Kassian would be preferred due to his ability to play up and down the lines plus he is a bit younger than Hornqvist; however, I wouldn’t mind having Hornqvist back with this team. If we lost Malkin I wouldn’t mind bringing back Hornqvist and trying to bring back Fleury in a backup… Read more »

Troy
Troy
1 month ago

Zero interest in bringing back Hornqvist. Kassian would be perfect if around 2 mil/year…. Sign Letang and Malkin-$15 mil/yr for 3yrs… let O’Connor, Zohorna, Angello, Puustinen fill out the fourth line. Trade Pettersson (for a Draft pick and:or prospect), and resign Kapanen…Sign Fleury to a 2yr/5 mil,and give long term 5 yr/25 mil to Jarry…

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
1 month ago
Reply to  Troy

Well if Malkin is not there why do they need Kap,trde him for a better prospect, Zucker Peterson need to go i would let Erod and Marino be traded or walk they just dead weight, kassianis a good pickup, if you resign Boyle why would you need horn, but horn does add a little more toughness cause pitt has not that much toughness. Where does Rackell fit into all this is he not the prize they want to sign

Pete
Pete
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Dead weight doesn’t score 19 goals.

Mike26
Mike26
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

EROD needs to go. He never scored more than 8 or 9 goals in his career for
a season. You saw the real EROD in the playoffs and 2nd half of the season.This team needs to change there identity and structure the roster for
playoff success.

bdgr
bdgr
1 month ago

Hey Dan — Kassian is an intriguing option. What would be an ideal contract for him as a Pens pickup (if the buyout goes thru)?

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
1 month ago

Interesting. I wonder if Horni’s equipment bag and uni are still at the top of the driveway where he left them?

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

We definitely need some muscle to take care of the gooning attacks on our guys.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete

Pete, your on the wrong site. These Yinzers could care less about having real men on their figure skating team. Don’t want a Cup either. So stupid, they want to resign old soft players. Keep destroying this team that can’t even win a playoff series. I hate to even Google Penguins to read this garbage. Let’s resign Tyler Kennedy etc. That’s why I only listen to Canadian Radio Sports or Boston to listen to real Hockey people. Dan’s trying to provide a quality Sports venue for opinions. Just overwhelmed by Yinzers.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

Not true! A mild deterrent in the lineup may make the NHL jobbers think twice before they give a flying elbow to Crosby’s head! In the end though, having a fast and skilled team with a solid goaltender is what wins the cup.

SHINY
SHINY
1 month ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

So how much less could we care?? Goddamn man.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

The pens definitely need an enforcer type , the whistle seems to stay in the pocket in the playoffs. Its time for an asskicker, I agree the ranger series would of been ours. Crosby gets roughed up that guy needs taken out period. If the refs or the NHL don’t understand he needs protected we do,never again should the pens stand for this dirty hockey

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

Aaron, your unique! Crosby’s lucky hes still playing. These idiots don’t know hockey. You couldn’t even look at Gretzky wrong without taking a ass whipping. Ask Lemieux about winning his Cups with all those sissies on his team? Take a run at the Oilers Superstar? Watch what happens? A miracle Crosby hasn’t been hurt bad.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Horny wound be perfect here. He’s only 35 an has eight-to-10 productive years ahead of him. Easy.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul, classic statement. Love it. Yinzers will love you. Great one.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

You are turninng into a parody of yourself

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

We have some of the best ever to play scoring wise,and trust me I like clean hockey but come playoff time the whistles go away. Hell our guys helmet gets ripped off no call. Our top 2 goalies were out Louie gave us his best. I can’t skate for shit but I’d drop the gloves and fight that goon that hurt sid. Hell he can give me his address cause I’m still pissed about what happened to the pens. We were clearly the better team, its hard to beat the refs too. In OT a jersey grab gets the rangers… Read more »

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

Gino and Letang take less money one more run. Sign Fluery for your backup and get us an ass kicking goon. Bring the cup back one last time you guys got this

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

I would love that, especially Fleury coming back. I doubt Hextall has it in him. We will see what he is made of the next couple weeks. He has got a lot of work to do for sure.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

Jesse Puljujarvi at 6’4 200 who wants out of Edmonton along with Kassian would add size to our line-up. Since Edmonton wants to shred Salary let’s go for it. Wouldn’t mind Offensive Defensemen Tyson Barrie as well to take Letang’s place if he leaves but I have my doubts about that. Bring Manson that Hextall covets in as well and we”ll have our size factor complete everyone wants.

moe
moe
1 month ago

Now there’s one smart writer who thought of Other Team Rejects and Buyouts!
Hex would be wise to shop in the bargain bin of buyouts for some cap managed salaries.
kassian works for me, maybe even Hornqvist.
Are there any other choices?

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[…] Who are 3 buyout candidates the Pittsburgh Penguins should […]

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[…] kandidáti na výkup by mohli Penguins pomoci, včetně brankáře a šíleného vikinga. Pittsburgh Penguins […]

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[…] the prime buyout candidates on the NHL trade market as they negotiate with their free agents. Some buyout candidates could help the Penguins, including a goalie and a crazy […]

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[…] candidates to buy a bargain can help the penguins, including the goalkeeper and the crazy Viking. Pittsburgh penguins […]

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