The Pittsburgh Penguins have about $20 million in projected salary cap to work with heading into the NHL Draft and Free Agency. Head Coach Mike Sullivan has let interim GM Kyle Dubas know that he’s looking for players with a particular trait to acquire. Players with speed.
With about $20 million left, they want to bring in about five forwards, a top-four defenseman, and a starting goaltender.
With Drew O’Connor and Ryan Poehling likely to be re-signed, that will claim two of the five forward spots. Jason Zucker could take the third spot, but that is still undetermined. If the Penguins do decide to keep Zucker, he would be the third forward spot that needs to be filled.
As for who the Penguins could add as the extra two forwards, they have speedy options. The first and in my best option is current Toronto Maple Leafs forward Noel Acciari.
Acciari, 31, spent the season split with the St. Louis Blues and the Leafs. He scored 14 goals and 23 points in 77 regular season games and two in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
The second option is Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesper Fast. Fast, also 31, played in 80 games with the Canes this season, with ten goals and 29 points. He also had six goals and nine points in 15 Stanely Cup Playoff games.
Some other players include current Florida Panthers forward Colin White, Edmonton Oilers forwards Nick Bjugstad and Mattias Janmark, Leafs forward Zach-Aston Reese, and Minnesota Wild forward Sam Steel.
For the defense, I like the idea of just using Marcus Pettersson and Pierre-Olivier Joseph in a top-four role. That way, they can spend low on a bottom-pairing defenseman.
Lastly, for the goaltending, I want the Penguins should go after Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson. Several sources have reported that Gibson wants to move on from the Ducks. He has four years left on his deal at $6.4 million and has a 10-team no-trade list.
The Penguins are among the expected teams with interest, but acquiring that contract may be a bit tricky. It does help that Gibson may want to play for his hometown team, as he is from Pittsburgh.