Tag Archives: Ron Hainsey

Ranking The Biggest Player Losses Due to Free Agency

Some of the most remarkable accomplishments that GM Jim Rutherford completed when transitioning the Pittsburgh Penguins team to this 2017 season was keeping pretty much all of the roster in tact and together. The only player that the Penguins lost was Beau Bennet and Ben Lovejoy, and with all due respect to Mr. Bennet, I don’t think any Pens fan cares or even missed him. Lovejoy played well as a defenseman for the Pens, but was quickly replaced. Now he’s struggling just to remain on the New Jersey Devils roster, rough switch.

Now the transition after back to back Stanley Cups going into ’18, becomes a more difficult path as players have received lucritive free agency contracts. It’s widely known in sports that players who win a championship normally grab large offers in the following off season of free agency. They deserve to be compensated for such a grand accomplishment, but it’s also remarkable about how the Pens were able to keep most of their guys while winning numerous cup championships in that time.

I’m thankful for each of these athlete’s effort as a Pittsburgh Penguin, seeing them go hurts but that’s the difficult nature that this business does. Even so, the Pens main to core group is still in on the roster. For now, here’s the players who left that are the toughest losses to the team.

  1. Nick Bonino:  Signed with Nashville Predators

Anchoring the 3rd line center role, Bonino would be a 2nd liner on most other teams if it weren’t for the Pens phenomenal talent. “Bonesy” brought grit, smarts, and reliability to the team. He provided top offense when needed and was always assuring to stop a top line with his defense, which is why he was the top penalty killer. While his play was more affective on the 2016 Cup team, there’s no better example of his heart and sacrifice last year than in this year’s 2017 Cup final (and win) when Bonino broke his fibula blocking a shot and than continued to finish the rest of the game. His departure leaves the biggest question on the Penguins for who will replace him, it won’t be easy.

2.   Marc-Andre Fleury: Drafted by Vegas Golden Knights

This probably would have been lower on the list if it wasn’t for the nostalgia wrapped around it. There’s no question Fleury is loved by all Pens fans, people were heartbroken when he was gone and his contributions through the years go on and on. Obviously Matt Murray is the starting goalie so that role is filled, but as a locker room presence and great teammate, it affects the psyche of the team. Flower even sat next to Sidney Crosby on all flights! 3 Stanley Cups including a great playoff run this year until Murray took over in the Eastern Conference Finals. What a career in Pittsburgh for him. He’s the only player on this list that spent his whole time as a Penguin, there’s great reason for that.

3. Matt Cullen: Retired……?

The original “dad” of the Penguins roster brought a winning yet calming pedigree to the Penguins. He stabilized a 4th line to make them just as dangerous as all the others. Cullen had a knack for capitalizing offensively at the most crucial times. He would constantly produce between 10-20 goals a season for the Pens, a phenomenal of scoring for a 4th line player. Carter Rowney will likely take his spot at center unless he gets the 3rd line, you can’t quantify veteran knowledge Cullen brought to the roster though.

4. Trevor Daley: Signed with Detroit Red Wings

Daley’s 2nd Stanley Cup victory was a little sweeter because he actually got to play in the finals this time. The previous win had him nursing a broken ankle. Daley was an offensive defenseman through and through that fit the Penguins system. Because Justin Schultz improved in succession from each year, he was clearly the 1 to sign back. Also we should get Kris Letang healthy again, making a the 1-2 defensive punch lethal. The Pens have alot of depth going on behind the blue line, so Daley was nice but certainly replaceable.

5. Chris Kunitz: Signed by Tampa Bay Lightning 

The 2nd longest tenured Penguin on this list, Kunitz experienced a wonderful time in a Penguins sweater. During his earlier time he was high level point scorer for the team, winging on the top line along with Sidney Crosby at center, Kunitz at 1 point was very prolific. His later years saw his role diminished to a protector role, taking the brunt of front net scrap ups just like Patric Hornqvist. Kunitz was able to change his game and help the team. His scoring fell off, yet he had his last great Penguins moments in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring 2 goals including the winning goal in double OT. Unless he was coming back for smaller money, his body guard role was replaced by Hornqvist and Ryan Reaves. His scoring has long been taken by the stable of young guys like Conor Sheary, Jake Gutnzel and Bryan Rust all on lesser contracts. The Pens also have promising Daniel Sprong amongst others waiting in the wings to go. Kunitz time was up though it was a time worth remembering. In the twilight of his career, he has 4 (3 with the Pens) Cups and can prepare for retirement playing in Tampa. He will take on a veteran role there similar to the 1 that made him assistant captain here.

6. Ron Hainsey: Signed by Toronto Maple Leafs

Traded for at the deadline for insurance on defense, Hainsey progressed as the playoffs went on. I liked him in Pittsburgh, though there was no chance the Penguins would dream of giving Hainsey the money that Toronto did. As stated before about the Letang return along with some guys in the farm system, Hainsey was expendable. If the Pens need more help later in the season they can just trade for another Hainsey type player at the deadline for a similar end result.

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What Penguins Would Have Fun Days With Cup?

It’s been 25 days since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup (again) followed by the victory parade and I am riding just as high as I hope many Pens fans still are. I was in attendance at the 2016 parade and had the time of my life for numerous reasons. While I wasn’t able to make it to this years 2017 parade, having some beers later and watching it on tv in celebration  made me feel like I was there once again at the party.

Winning 2 cups in a row, especially in the Salary Cap era, is very difficult to do. So I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of this 1 (again) much like many of the players did during the parade as you probably have seen by now. It got me to thinking, I wonder what some of the players (particularly the younger guys) are doing with their day with the cup?

Certainly everyone is gonna have fun with it, but who would I wanna be hanging with or as their goal song dictates “party hard” with come there day with the Cup?

I’m going to get this outta the way right now, Phil Kessel is always an automatic choice. There’s no need to explain, I love Phil Kessel, you love Phil Kessel, we all love him, we know the folklore about him. This is definitely obvious. It’s like talking about the greatest Yankees of all team, don’t even need to mention Babe Ruth because we all know he’s one of the greatest players of all time, same ruling goes for Kessel.

Jake Guentzel

Unlike many of his teammates, Guentzel was only on the latter of the back to back championships. For this being his 1st time meeting new best friend Stanley, Guentzel looked thrilled the entire time at the parade. He was seen fist pumping and cheering all the way down the route. My favorite part was him talking about what he’s doing with the cup:

“IM GOING BACK TO MINNESOTAAAAAA”. Jake Guentzel was literally a kid in a candy shop, he’s got a shiny new silver toy to play with this summer. Seeing Guentzel with that joy on his face during the whole parade makes me think that won’t stop at all, for me that’s a front row seat worth the price of admission.

Brian Dumoulin

Last year in 2016 we were blessed with this gem:

Than now in 2017 it might have been even better:

Biting open the can with your teeth is such a savage move I can’t help but be a fan of it. I for sure want to be around for what Dumo will do next.

Sidney Crosby:

As if 3 Stanley Cups and 2 Conn Smythe’s and a team parade wasn’t enough already for Sid, he now gets to be treated like a super hero. His hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia Canada loves their home grown kid so much that Crosby gets his own parde in town. Imagine that, a parade for just you, not any teammates, just yourself. I would love to be apart of that and be on 1 of the floats, definitely would be a cool thing to do.

I also think Sid would let loose a little in a place where you can see him behind the scenes. He’s always very calculated and reserved when it comes to doing interviews, it would be fun seeing the other fun side of Crosby.

Olli Maatta

Need I say more?

Carl Hagelin

“Swagelin” as some call him scored the last goal of the Cup Final, a thrilling feeling putting the last nail in your opponents coffin. He also had a rough year because of injury and under production of goal scoring that we normally see from the Swede. In other words, Hagelin could use the 2nd championship to blow off some steam.

He got right to it by joining Crosby at the NHL Awards over in Vegas. Surely Hagelin ripped up the town while he was there as he wasn’t up for any awards, just there hanging with Stanley and Sid in support of his teammate. I’ll hit the black jack tables with Hagelin anytime.

Ron Hainsey

Trade deadline acquisition Ron Hainsey always struck me as kind of similar to that old dad from the movie Project X, or maybe the fun neighbor you might be aware of. He’s the loving, responsible, caring father that he should be to his wife and kids. Then, one night, the young guys a few houses down decide to throw a real awesome party, Hainsey stops by to ask to keep the noise down, next thing you know he’s invited in and getting wild with everyone else, maybe doing some shots or a quick drinking game, having a great time and being one of the last to leave.

That’s how I imagine Hainsey felt as he wasted away his time in Carolina struggling and never making the playoffs (the nice dad who’s kinda boring). Next he’s on the Penguins in the playoffs, having fun, being productive, scoring goals in the Stanley Cup (the crazy dad) slicing through defenders and finally winning that Stanley Cup! Hainsey than dressed up as a catcher and caught the 1st pitch thrown by Sidney Crosby at the Pirates game the next day. It’s been some ride for Hainsey, he can finally relax.

Evgeni Malkin

This really just comes down to the fact that Malkin has always been my favorite player. He’s also the all time playoff points leader in Russia. The reception he probably gets when he brings the Cup back to his town of Magnitogorsk is probably 1 similar to when Steph Curry goes back to Charlotte.

Justin Schultz

I just want to recreate a bunch of the memes that have now went viral of Schutlz walking and chugging. There’s no question he, Maatta, Conor Sheary and Guentzel were the ones really getting after it at the parade, if you know what I mean.

Really you could make a case for any Penguins player on this roster. Back to back, sounds great to say. Raise a glass, a cold one, or the finest bottle of choice for your 2017 Stanley Cup Champs!

 

 

Pens Acquire Defenseman Ron Hainsey

The Penguins acquired defenseman Ron Hainsey from the Penguins in exchange for Daniel Kristo and a second round pick. The Hurricanes retained half of Hainsey’s salary.

The 35 year old defenseman, who turns 36 in March, has played in 891 career games. He’s never appeared in a playoff game.

In 56 games this season, Hainsey is a -16 with 4 goals and 14 points. He played 300 games in Carolina and had 58 points in that span. He leads the Hurricanes in blocked shots and hits over the course of this season.

The Penguins are in desperate need of a defenseman with Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley out for six weeks a piece. Justin Schultz and Kris Letang look to return relatively soon.

A defensive defenseman, Hainsey brings a long reach and an aggressive style to the Penguins with some veteran leadership. Despite never playing in a playoff game, he will be a welcomed addition to the team.

He’s just another penalty killing weapon who is more than willing to throw his body in front of a shot to help kill off a penalty. General manager Jim Rutherford went out and got his man and it’s expected he will make another move or two before the deadline.