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NHL Free Agency

Ritchie, Khaira? Finding Value for Penguins Among New UFAs | PHN+



PIttsburgh Penguins free agency, Nick Ritchie, NHL trade rumors

There’s always a couple of surprises when teams make their final decisions to offer or cut bait with their restricted free agents. The Pittsburgh Penguins said no thanks to Jesper Lindgren, who toiled in the Swedish minor leagues but was acquired as part of the Kasperi Kapanen deal last August. Other teams cut loose talented players, or more specifically, players who have talent, and there may be a few bargains to be had.

But are any right for the Penguins?

Maybe. Probably not. Well, there is at least one.

One thing to note, the Penguins minor-league system has plenty of space. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have missed the playoffs a couple of years running, but worse, there isn’t a flood of talent ready to rise through the AHL as there was in 2016 when Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl broke through. Or as Jake Guentzel did the following year.

The Penguins have a handful of NHL potential players or those who could have that potential, but they need many more. If one or a few players are available on two-way deals, the Penguins may find a diamond in the rough.

There are also a few established NHL players available, like Nick Ritchie and Jujhar Khaira, who readers have asked about. We did some digging. We did some checking. And we have some answers about suitability and affordability.

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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.