Update: Penguins sign Rupp, lose Gill; Scuderi, Fedotenko in play
July 1, 2009 4:00 PM
Steve Nesius/Associated Press
The Departed: Massive Penguins defenseman Hal Gill signed with Montreal on Tuesday.
By Dave Molinari Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Penguins acquired a forward and signed a prospect, but lost a veteran defenseman and a goalie during the first day of NHL free agency.
And they don't necessarily appear to be finished.
They signed rugged center Mike Rupp to a two-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $825,000 and former Boston Uniiversity defenseman Brian Strait to a three-year entry level deal.
However, defenseman Hal Gill accepted a $4.5 million, two-year deal with Montreal and backup goalie Mathieu Garon agreed to a two-year deal worth $1.2 million per season with Columbus.
Rupp had three goals, six assists and 136 penalty minutes in 72 games with New Jersey in 2008-09. He is 6 foot 5, 230 pounds and is a capable fighter.
"I'm a player who plays very physical, and I've started fighting more in the past few years," he said.
Strait, the Penguins' third-round draft choice in 2006, is a stay-at-home defenseman who would have been a co-captain if he'd returned to BU for his senior season. He appears to be a longshot candidate to play in the NHL in 2009-10.
The Penguins continue to hope they'll be able to retain free-agent defenseman Rob Scuderi, who was Gill's defense partner, and could know as early as this evening if that will happen.
"It's definitely possible (that Scuderi will be signed tonight)," agent Steve Bartlett said. E2But it's far from definite."
Scuderi, who became an unrestricted free agent at noon, has attracted interest from an unspecified number of teams -- Minnesota and the New York Rangers are believed to be on that list -- and Bartlett said he felt there "might be another wave of potential teams once some other guys like Mike Komisarek (who subsequently signed with Toronto) get out of the way."
Bartlett said he "continues to have a dialogue with Pittsburgh" and that Scuderi returning to the Penguins -- something both parties have expressed a strong interest in having happen, if possible -- is entirely possible.
Winger Ruslan Fedotenko, the most prominent Penguins forward to go on the market today, is believed to have attracted attention from several teams but, like Scuderi, is someone the Penguins would like to have back if an acceptable contract can be worked out.