TYLER KENNEDY OF THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS IS AN INTRIGUING RFA
According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Penguins GM Ray Shero doesn’t have any deadline for re-signing winger Tyler Kennedy. He has no plans of trading his rights if nothing is finalized by July 1st but re-signing Kennedy is still a priority for Shero despite not making much progress on a deal.
Who is he?
For one, he is a left wing…and only 24.
That got your attention, right?
Technically, he is listed as center but he can play all three positions.
My favorite part?
The kid can skate. He is not just fast (read: top end speed) but possesses excellent acceleration. If the puck is near him, he is going to win the race to it.
5’11″, 183 pounds, 4th round draft pick in 2004. He has played in the league since 2007 but 2008 was his first real season (he only played 55 games in ’07). His goal / point totals since 2008 have been 15/35 (67 games), 13/25 (64 games), 21/45 (80 games). His plus-minus is a +28 overall.
This past season, he took 234 shots on goal and had a .90 shooting percentage. He hovers around the .86 mark, which is decent and he no longer hesitates to shoot the puck (a knock on him in earlier seasons). He racked up 37 PIM and also managed 95 hits, which was a significant increase from past seasons. Tyler Kennedy’s physical game has started to develop and he has steadily brought a better two-way component. This is not a 5’11″ forward that plays his size and weight. He will go to the boards, take on larger opponents and offers a healthy dose of sandpaper. For you pugilist fans, yes, he drops the gloves.
So, why haven’t the Penguins re-signed him? Because he is a restricted free agent and is due a raise from his $725,000.00 contract. The Penguins only have a little over $2.4 million dollars in cap space and have a whole lot of UFA forwards to think about. Even with the expected bump in the salary cap, can the Penguins give Kennedy the $2.5 to $3.5 million dollar contract he likely covets? If they can’t, should Dean Lombardi look his way? A trade? Offer sheet? A young, speedy forward that can put up 20 goals per season and can play a two-way game is exactly what the doctor ordered so long as Terry Murray doesn’t plant him on the third line and give him an Alexei Ponikarovsky shut down role.
What do you think boys and girls?