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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Switching Gears by @BrianK_PI

2:25:00 PM 0

The Penguins' free fall down the standings before stumbling into the 2015 NHL Playoffs is likely the lowest point the franchise has encountered in the six years since winning the Stanley Cup. A quick five games later, and the future looked bleak. The Pens entered the offseason with major depth issues, with a lack of tradeable assets, a relatively barren prospect pool, and a good number of their draft picks in other teams' hands. Like Boston, the team Pittsburgh was racing for 9th place down the stretch, it seemed like the window for being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender wasn't just closing, but that the shades were being drawn too.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Who the Hell is Sergei Plotnikov?

9:36:00 AM 2

With all the hype of the Kessel trade it's easy to forget about the signing of Sergei Plotnikov for a year and a manageable 925k cap hit. We all immediately penciled him in with Geno, and went back to analyzing Kessel's hot dog intake. Who is Plotnikov exactly, what kind of player is he, how many hot dogs does he eat during the season? Well, let's dig a little and see what we can find.

Upon singing with the Penguins, Plotnikov was eager to get to Pittsburgh and "get adjusted to the surroundings, the culture and work out.” as was reported by the Trib's Jason Mackey. This impressed managment which Rutherford was quoted. “Without us asking, he's already talking about getting over here early,” Rutherford said. “Some of the things he's done speak volumes of his character.”
He also footed the bill for his $500,000 KHL transfer fee to go to Pittsburgh. It's been said that Evgeni Malkin will help Plotnikov with the adjustment to the Yinzer culture and is fully supported by a Russian Support Group in Pittsburgh if needed.

Plotnikov cut his teeth in the KHL (Russia's top professional hockey league) where he put up modest numbers at a young age.

via eliteprospects.com
He was part of the rebuilding of the Lokomotiv team that was tragically killed in a plane accident in 2012-13 after having played 3 seasons in Amur. The 25 year old 6'2" 205lb winger has been encapsulated by eliteprosepcts.com as:

"A hard working winger with good game vision who plays an impressive physical game. He also has a good shot. Needs to improve his skating.
- Anton Vasyatin, EP (2015) - See more at: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=17760#sthash.jGQgEGue.dpuf"

He won a Gold Medal in the 2014 IIHF World Championship with the Russian National team in which he also earned a selection on the media all-star team as one of 3 forwards. He finished that tournament third in scoring

Not bad huh? This was a team that included Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, and Tarasenko together on the same squad.

Hockeybuzz's Ryan Wilson found out why he chose the Penguins:

1. He loves the idea of playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
2. He likes the style of play that Mike Johnston utilizes
3. The team is in a win now mode
4. He liked using the Penguins while playing PlayStation

I think that's fair. 

What I think:

1) What Plotnikov brings to the table is a valid threat on the wing with Malkin. He will play with snarl but not take himself out of the play to hit or chase guys to battle. He is a large power forward who works hard and is difficult to take off his feet. In the past, he has shown amazing chemistry with Malkin and Ovechkin respectively at the World Championships.

2) The character and drive he has shown in the small sample size interacting the media has really stuck out. Paying his $500,000 to go to the NHL is a prime example of a young man chasing his dream who is looking for an opportunity.

3) It's a low-risk signing. Having Plotnikov sign a 1 year entry level deal for the max 925k leaves the Penguins totally open to all options in the 2016-17 season. 

4) There will be an adjustment period for Sergei and no amount of training can prepare him for the grind and speed of an NHL season. I can predict a conservative season with modest playing time on the second/third line where he will put up 30-35 points. 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Morning Drive: Radio:PI Phil Kessel Trade with @Steve_Dangle

9:00:00 AM 0
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kessel Trade Makes Short Term, Future Sense by @BrianK_PI

2:30:00 PM 0

If trading Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen was the trade that highlighted the best move of Ray Shero's tenure, then the Phil Kessel trade is all but guaranteed to do the same for Jim Rutherford once his time as Pittsburgh's GM has come to an end. That the Penguins were able to pull off a Kessel trade is stunning enough, but the details of the trade make the Pens an instant winner. The team traded Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, and Nick Spaling along with 1st and 3rd round picks in next year's draft for Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh's 2016 2nd round draft pick, and prospects Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon, plus Toronto retaining $1.2 million per year for the life of Kessel's contract.
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Penguins' Checklist by @BrianK_PI

11:10:00 AM 0

The highlight of the NHL's offseason kicks off at noon today as team's are officially allowed to sign free agents for the upcoming season. Draft weekend gave Pens fans a peek at the frenzy to come as Jim Rutherford and company diligently worked the phones to swing a deal for a top six winger before falling short. With that in mind, the Pittsburgh Penguins do enter free agency with a well defined list of objectives, some more plausible than others, to retool the roster and put the team back in contention for the Stanley Cup.

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Pens Initiative 2015 Free Agency Coverage

11:00:00 AM 0
(Source: WTAE)

This page will be updated throughout the coming days with information about what the Penguins do during this, the opening days of Free Agency.

PI Thoughts:

(refresh this page to see new tweets)



Brian Keenan shares his Penguins Checklist






3:06PM 3:33PM 3:44PM
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