List of Penguins players I haven't mentioned yet and what to do with them
In the past week I’ve talked about players the Penguins should keep, the ones they could be fine keeping, and the ones they should be looking to move. There are some players who fell through the cracks and didn’t make it into those individual blogs. I’m going to talk about those players today and what I think the Penguins should do moving forward with them.
One of the bigger surprises this season. Ceci had a solid season in a depth role for the Penguins. For years he was drowning with his assignments because he was being asked to do too much. In a proper depth role he was serviceable and then some. The problem with his 2020-21 season is that he may have priced himself out of Pittsburgh’s comfort zone. I would definitely run it back at the same contract he earned last summer, but Ceci has certainly earned more. I would give him a slight raise, but I would not give him more than one-year. It is tough to pony up for Ceci considering the Penguins have a 700k Chad Ruhwedel sitting there unused. Ceci should test the market. He has earned it.
Gaudreau spent time in the AHL trying to work his way back to the NHL and did so this year with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did a nice job in a depth role using his speed. If the Penguins need a depth player who can skate they could do worse than bringing Gaudreau back. They may need a fourth line center if the Penguins leave Teddy Blueger exposed and Seattle takes him in the expansion draft.
At times the Penguins overextended Rodrigues and played him up the lineup. This isn’t the player’s fault. I think Rodrigues at 700k is a very useful 12th or 13th forward on a team trying to compete for a title. There are certainly other players who fit the bill, but if they brought him back and didn’t try to play him up the lineup he can be effective.
He is what he is and in my estimation it isn’t an NHL player. He has great speed, but no awareness. Creating opportunities with your speed isn’t exactly worth all that much when you don’t know what to do when you create something from the chaos you created. He’s fine for WB/S, but not for the big roster.
Patric Hornqvist for Mike Matheson as a one for one trade would have been bad enough. Adding Colton Sceviour and his 1.2M cap hit? It was just bizarre. Sceviour is a UFA and the Penguins should cut bait and move on. Sceviour is 32 years old with no visible upside. The Penguins can find depth elsewhere and should.
I saw nothing out of O’Connor at the NHL this past season. I thought everything seemed slow with him. Not necessarily his speed, but the processing of the situations and then making plays. It was his first professional season so there is certainly a learning curve. No shame in putting him in the AHL for a full year and obtaining better depth in front of him to keep him there. He did a nice job in WB/S putting up 19 points in 20 games. Give him some more time at the AHL level and go from there. If he puts together a great year and earns a promotion it is a bonus.
This is going to sound crazy, but I might actually protect him in the expansion draft. Not because I think he’s that good, but because I would leave both Pettersson and Matheson exposed hoping to shed some salary on the back end. Between him and Ruhwedel it opens the door for somebody to step up and take the bottom pairing minutes on the right side assuming Ceci moves on.
He might be the most interesting WB/S player. Zohorna certainly didn’t embarrass himself at the NHL level in his small sample. He had two goals and four points in eight games this year with the Penguins. If you look up his HockeyDB page you’ll notice there isn’t a huge sample of games at any level. He has some mystery surrounding him. He has size and his puck skills seem passable at first glance. He may compete for a roster spot next year. I certainly would look to put him in situations in training camp to make a mark and to see what happens. He’s 25 so not quite a prospect, but on a team with minimal prospects and playable AHL depth he stands out.
Thanks for reading!