The Penguins headed into UFA with two things: lots of cap space and a desire to spend it. These two factors combined to form three big UFA signings in Evgeni Kuznetsov, Chris Kreider, and Jake Allen. The Penguins believe in these players, which is shown by the money spent on these players as the first two got 7.5M over 4 years, while Allen got 5M over 3 years. At a press conference following the signings, GM Juliet Richards had this to say:
“Looking at the group of young players I have, I believe that this team is closer to contending for a playoff spot than we are to the start of our rebuild. Given the massive amount of cap space we already have, combined with a need to hit the salary floor, I decided now would be a good time to go out and make some big money bets. Evgeni Kuznetsov has proven in years past that he has it in him to be a first line center and we believe he still has that type of talent. Kuznetzov also expressed interest in coming in and playing with his countrymen Kaprizov and Svechnikov on his wings, so we believe this was the perfect fit. Chris Kreider is a big powerful winger who has shown he can score goals and be a high end contributor, so it made perfect sense to go out and add him into the fold. We see Kreider as a guy who can anchor our 2nd line for years to come while also being capable of slotting into the top line in a pinch. Jake Allen is a good bet to be capable of playing a 1A/1B role, and seeing as our goalies in the pipeline are years away, it made perfect sense to make a bet and potentially gain a starting goalie. Overall we’re very pleased with our moves, and can’t wait to see everything we’ve built over these past few years begin to come together”.
What do you think of the Penguins moves?