What an exciting month in the NHL. First the expansion draft, then the entry draft and now a free agency frenzy. With the unfortunate departures of both Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev, the Pittsburgh Penguins had to find some ways to fill out the lineup. Free agency was the perfect place to do so. While they didn’t make a big splash, they did secure some solid players. These are some new, and old, faces on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This was the biggest signing for the Pittsburgh Penguins this year. With Tanev’s style of play officially out of the lineup, Pittsburgh desperately needed someone that played like him. They needed a player that’ll go into the dirty areas of the ice and isn’t afraid to throw their weight around. To general manager Ron Hextall, Brock McGinn looked like that guy. After McGinn wasn’t re-signed by the Carolina Hurricanes, where he spent the entirety of his career up until this point, Hextall signed McGinn to a four year, $11 million contract.
McGinn’s play style should mesh with the Penguins well. As a depth piece, he is primarily depended on for his defensive style of play, so pairing him up on the checking line with Teddy Blueger and Zach Aston-Reese, if he re-signs, would make a lot of sense. Just like Tanev, he tends to throw some nice checks and fly down the ice, so he could be a great acquisition for the Penguins.
The Penguins did bring back an old face to the roster. Dominik Simon is officially back in Pittsburgh. Simon was drafted 137th overall in the 2015 entry draft by the Penguins, and was a regular in the lineup in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. However, he was not re-signed at that time and was snagged by the Calgary Flames. He split his time between Calgary and the minors. When he wasn’t re-signed by Calgary, Hextall brought him right back.
Now, there is an upside and downside to Simon. The most massive upside is that he is cheap. He is only on a two-way, $750,000 contract. He could end up being a great depth piece. However, his play has deteriorated since his last season in Pittsburgh. In the 11 games he played last season, Simon didn’t score a single goal nor gather one assist. It was like he was invisible on the ice. If he cracks the lineup, he’ll have to prove himself once again.
If fans weren’t excited about any signings mentioned yet, they will be about this guy. Filip Lindberg has unlimited potential in the NHL. After a rough showing of goaltending last year, the Penguins needed a new prospect. They found that in Lindberg. He was drafted in 2019 by the Minnesota Wild, but they didn’t re-sign him. Pittsburgh saw the opportunity and seized it while they had the chance.
Lindberg has been the goaltender for the University of Massachusetts since the 2018-2019 season. In 50 games in the NCAA, Lindberg has an amazing average save percentage of .937. He won 29 of his 50 games with 11 of those wins being shutouts. It will take quite some time to further develop Lindberg, but he could end up being an incredible steal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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