Shopping list includes Perreault -- sort of
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Yanic Perreault is, year in and year out, the best faceoff man in the NHL.
He is experienced, consistent and, from all indications, moderately priced.
Andre Savard, the Penguins' new assistant coach, was the general manager who signed Perreault for Montreal in 2001, and Michel Therrien coached him with the Canadiens.
And when Perreault had a solid 2004-05 season in Nashville, Ray Shero, the guy now charged with assembling the Penguins' roster, was the Predators' assistant GM.
Clearly, a lot of factors suggest the Penguins should target Perreault as the NHL's free-agency period moves along.
And they are. Sort of.
Perreault's agent, Jay Fee, said yesterday that he has had "some preliminary talks" with Shero. He added that several other clubs have expressed interest, but no front-runner has emerged.
"I'd say there are four teams that look at him as a pretty good add-on component," Fee said.
Shero, though, appears to have only lukewarm interest in Perreault, at least at the moment.
"I haven't ruled it out, but it hasn't become a front-burner thing," he said.
In the short term, Shero said, his sole concern at center is getting Evgeni Malkin over from Russia. That can't happen until Russia, which has agreed to participate in the transfer agreement between the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation, formally signs off on that deal.
Perreault, 35, is coming off a season in which he put up 22 goals and 35 assists and won 62.2 percent of his 899 draws in 69 games with Nashville.
He is unrestricted, just as he was last summer. Back then, numerous teams, including the Penguins, passed on him, and Perreault ultimately accepted a tryout with the Predators.
He earned a place on their roster during training camp, eventually receiving a one-year, $525,000 contract.
Perreault's age and mediocre skating presumably helped to hold down interest in him in 2005 -- especially with the NHL's renewed emphasis on speed -- but his performance in Nashville might have allayed at least some of those concerns.
"He had to prove himself last year," Fee said. "He showed he can be very effective. He's very, very crafty. ... There's a level of appreciation for what he can do under the new rules.
"He has unbelievable hands, and his vision is great. From a speed standpoint, he's not going to win a lot of races, but he's so darned smart.
"And he doesn't need to play 16 or 18 minutes a night to put up 50 points. He can do it with an average of say, 11 minutes."
Precisely how much money Perreault, who is 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, is seeking now isn't clear; Fee described him simply as "very affordable."
"I don't think the money is an impediment," he said. "I think Yanic will be a real fair bargain."
First Published July 5, 2006 12:00 am