The Penguins GM on Friday announced left wing Ruslan Fedotenko had re-signed for one year for a reported $1.8 million. The Penguins lost defensemen Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill to free agency, but have brought back Bill Guerin, Craig Adams and Alex Goligoski while also adding Mike Rupp.
Fedotenko, 30, registered 39 points (16 goals, 23 assists) this past season. He was solid in the playoffs, too, when he had seven goals and 14 points in 24 games while playing most of the time on a line with Evgeni Malkin.
His presence in the locker room during the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit was invaluable. Fedotenko had previously won the Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, scoring both goals by the Lightning in Game 7 against the Calgary Flames.
"With both (Guerin) and Feds (Fedotenko), I explained our cap situation and what we had to do. I think it was a good communication with both of them," Shero said Friday. "We're familiar with each other. We won with both of them and it says a lot for them to come back and keeping us underneath the salary cap, and to help us get another championship here. Hats off to them and to Craig Adams for wanting to come back.
"Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi moved on for all the right reasons," Shero added. "I have nothing but great things to say about them. I'm very happy for them and their families. That's a byproduct of winning underneath the salary cap system. I think it's worked out well for everybody."
Shero said he's still in the market for a defenseman, but he's not in a hurry to get anything done. Right now the Penguins defense goes five deep if you count Goligoski along with Brooks Orpik, Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang and Mark Eaton.
Shero said he'll be looking for more from Goligoski and Letang next season and might want to see what Ben Lovejoy and Brian Strait can offer in training camp, but ideally he'll land a veteran defenseman on a short-term contract. In a minor move Friday, the Penguins signed Nate Guenin, who had two assists in 12 career games over parts of three seasons for Philadelphia.
"We've been in touch with a number of guys that are unrestricted, or we could make a trade," Shero said. "We'll wait and see. We have five defensemen signed right now so I think we're in good shape. We're just trying to find the right guy, the right fit for us. Maybe we'll give younger guys an opportunity."
The Penguins are also now in the market for another assistant coach as they moved Tom Fitzgerald into the front office Friday, naming him assistant to the general manager. Shero said Fitzgerald was excellent as an assistant coach, but in his new role he can be a "jack of all trades."
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and remaining assistant Mike Yeo will start interviewing candidates in roughly 10 days. Shero will have a say as well.
"Dan is on vacation this weekend, well-deserved I must say," Shero said. "I will certainly have a say in it. But at the same time I want him to be comfortable with the person he's going to hire, and Mike Yeo to be comfortable as well. It will be a group decision, but in the end I'll leave the final decision to Dan."
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