Familiar Penguins faces say goodbye via free agency
The Penguins' overhaul continued Tuesday when they lost six players in free agency.
Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik left for division rival Washington, while left wing Tanner Glass signed with the division-rival New York Rangers.
Forward Jussi Jokinen went to Florida, while center Joe Vitale went to Arizona and defenseman Deryk Engelland went home to Alberta with the Calgary Flames.
When it was over, the six players had been signed to $100.1 million worth of contracts.
“Guess things are going to look a little different in Pittsburgh,” Glass said.
Following the firings of general manager Ray Shero and coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins wanted to become more physical. But they lost some of their most physical players.
Orpik's style was always an exception than the rule on a team that has displayed more finesse than force. Glass and Engelland are willing fighters. Vitale was one of the Penguins' biggest hitters.
They're all gone.
“I'm just glad I'm going to a good team,” said Glass, who signed for three years with the Rangers. “When you get past 30 like I am, you start thinking about how many years left, and you start thinking about winning a Stanley Cup.”
Glass thought he would have such an opportunity with the Penguins when he signed in 2012.
“Unfortunately things never worked out so well in the playoffs for us,” he said.”
Glass remains bitter he was made a healthy scratch during his two postseasons with the Penguins.
“It absolutely left a bad taste in my mouth,” he said.”
Niskanen and Orpik were courted by former Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden, now with the Capitals. Reirden's influence — and about $68 million — was enough to entice them.
Niskanen, in particular, has a strong relationship with Reirden.
“Coaching is important to Matt, and he has a lot of trust in Todd,” said Neil Sheehy, Niskanen's agent.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach