The Pittsburgh Penguins have made a number of moves this summer, moves that have significantly impacted their roster, but they are not done quit yet,. The organization still has one more restricted free agent still unsigned, that RFA being defenseman Marcus Pettersson, and there is a belief that the Penguins will have to make another roster move in order to clear the cap space needed to sign Pettersson.
That means that the Penguins will have very little room left to round out their current roster, and Penguins insider Dan Kingerski believes that the Penguins will have to rely on professional tryout offers to make necessary editions to their roster. With one month left between now and the start of training camp Kingerski has named the 5 players he believes the Penguins are most likely to sign to a professional tryout offer this offseason.
#5 Ben Lovejoy.
The former Pittsburgh Penguins has received no offers since his contract expired with the New Jersey Devils and there are some who believe his NHL career may already be over. There's no question that Lovejoy has taken a step back, but perhaps his strong ties to the Penguins organization would be enough to earn him another shot on a tryout offer.
#4 Tobias Rieder.
Rieder's lack of a contract is somewhat surprising at this stage, however that may be a result of the stagnant salary cap and the financial troubles that has caused many teams around the National Hockey League. Rieder is coming off another season in which he put up double digit goals and for a team that will be looking to add scoring after losing star forward Phil Kessel, he seems like a natural fit.
#3 Michael Stone.
A big defenseman coming off a season with the Calgary Flames it seems hard to believe that Stone will start the season without an NHL contract. Like Rieder is seems likely that cap constraints are the main reason that Stone is not signed and I would not be surprised to see him signed once all the RFAs around the NHL have been signed. Stone could take a PTO with a team knowing full well that he will receive an NHL contract and make the team once the salary issues are settled.
#2 Drew Stafford.
The 33 year old forward is clearly past his prime and his time as a New Jersey Devil did little to dispel that notion from the minds of those who have watched Stafford play. That being said injecting him into the Penguins offense could be exactly what Stafford needs to return to the 21 goal former he showed during the 2015 - 2016 NHL season as a member of the Jets. It seems a certainty that Stafford will have to come in a PTO somewhere if he wants to remain in the NHL, so why not a Penguins team in need of scoring?
#1 Valeri Nichushkin.
Obviously the player with the highest potential upside on the list Nichushkin is also a bit of a gamble. The talented defenseman was unable to crack the Stars line up and eventually flunked out of that organization after frustrating management for years. However the Penguins were able to resurrect defenseman Justin Schultz after a trade from Edmonton and he has looked like a completely different player under Mike Sullivan, who is to say the Penguins can't do the same with Nichushkin?