Penguins Bolster Roster With Signings
It’s early July, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have already bolstered their roster.
Executive Vice President/General Manager
“I like where we are. That’s starting with the Ryan Whitney contract,” Shero said. “Signing your own players is the most-important thing for the franchise, I think, moving forward.”
In his second NHL stint – and first full season with the Penguins’ parent club – Whitney continued to progress. He ranked fifth in team scoring with 59 points (14+45) in 81 games. That far surpassed his totals in 2005-06 when he had 38 points (6+32) in 68 games.
Whitney, only 24, surged up the NHL rankings and finished fifth among all defensemen in scoring. He finished second on the Penguins in average time on ice at 23:56. He was fourth in power-play scoring with 33 points and tied Evgeni Malkin for second on the team in power-play assists with 24.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, who has 37 points in his last 44 games, earned a six-year contract.
“I know this is the place Ryan wants to be. He was very happy about it and we’re very happy to have him back,” Shero said. “Ryan is a great kid and it’s key that he wanted to stay here. He’s an improving hockey player. Is he a finished product yet? No, but that’s great news because he’ll still have some improvement and you don’t find 6-foot-4 guys with that kind of talent very often, so we’re fortunate to have him for a long period of time.
“I really believe we have a great young group here and this is a group I want to keep together, if we can.”
Sydor, 35, had 21 points (5+16) in 74 games last season with
“He brings experience. He’s a real good leader and person. He has the ability to move the puck and I think he has good hands,” Shero said. “We have some pretty quality forwards up front, but I think with the addition of [Kris] Letang this year – we’re not going to rush him, but we hope he can play – and Sydor and guys like that to go along with [Sergei] Gonchar and Whitney and even Mark Eaton gives us the ability to move the puck better than last year. I think that’s going to improve our defense. He’s a guy that can play the second unit of the power play; he can kill penalties – he can give us some quality minutes. To me, he is guy who will help solidify our defensive unit. He had other opportunities, but came here, which is real good to hear.”
In addition, the 6-1, 211-pound Sydor brings leadership and experience. The two-time All-Star has a pair of Stanley Cup rings (1999 with
“He has played with a real good team in
Offensively, Sykora brings a goal-scoring touch on either wing. He had a team-best 22 goals and 31 assists in 82 games with
“I really think a guy like Sykora has a great ability to shoot the puck. He has a great release and a great shot. He’s scored goals in this league before. I really think he’ll be a good fit in our top two lines,” Shero said. “I am not sure where he’ll play, but he’ll give us another element on the wing. He can play the point on the power play as well; he’s been effective in that role in the league. He’s a guy who has won as well, with
Indeed. The 6-foot, 190-pounder won the Stanley Cup with
He hopes to continue the postseason success in
“It was kind of interesting. When free agency started at noon [on Sunday], it must have been 12:01 p.m. when my phone rang and his agent was the first call I got saying that Petr’s first choice was to play in
“With Sykora, he is a diligent defensive player. We’re looking for a certain fit. Certainly, the guys who can score goals have the ability to put up some points and they are not usually in the running for the Selke Trophy. He is a guy has played all three forward positions. He played a lot at center last year with
Scuderi finished 2006-07 with 11 points (1+10) and 28 penalty minutes in 78 games. The 11 points are a career high as he had just six career points heading into the season. In addition, he was one of the team’s top penalty killers. He ranked third on the team in short-handed ice time.
Meanwhile, Sabourin returns to the Penguins after he was claimed off waivers by the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 4, 2006. The 6-4, 200-pounder posted a 2-4-1 record and a 2.63 goals-against average in nine appearances backing up Roberto Luongo. He appeared in four games with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and had a 1-1-0 record and a 2.01 GAA.
He enjoyed immense success in the Penguins’ organization with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2005-06. He compiled a 30-14-4 record, which set a club record and ranked second in the AHL. Sabourin earned the Aldege ‘Baz’ Bastien Award as the top goaltender in the AHL and was selected to the AHL’s First All-Star Team. Also, he set Wilkes-Barre/Scranton team records for consecutive wins (nine), consecutive road wins (nine), and longest unbeaten streak (nine).