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Shero Hopes To Keep Penguins' Core Together

by Joe Sager / Pittsburgh Penguins

Now that the Penguins have tapped into the free-agent market, their focus turns to their own roster.

Penguins Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero is now ready to make sure the team’s young and talented core remains in Pittsburgh.

“Every team is going to do what they feel they need to do, but as far as we’re concerned, our need was to add a veteran defenseman and a winger and I think we accomplished that. I think those players address our needs and we’re in pretty decent shape,” he said. “I really think with adding the two players we did, I really like our group. But, we don’t start playing until October, so there’s always a possibility where there’s a trade or we fall into something that might be attractive for us or make might make sense.

“But, I think our next item of business, obviously, is Sidney and Erik Christensen and Colby Armstrong and guys like that – trying to maintain our own group, which I really like. It’s a good young group and we want to keep them together. So, before we look outside to make any major changes, we’re going to take a look at our own group first and see where that takes us.” 

That starts with a long-term extension for Crosby, who became the youngest player to win an NHL scoring title last season with 120 points.

“We haven’t gotten into that too much. That’ll hopefully be later in the week or next week,” Shero said. “We wanted to get through July 1, so I am not sure what the expectations are going to be. We’ll listen more than anything and see where we end up. We want to keep Sidney for as long as we can or as long as he wants to stay, realizing he’s only 19. We’ll see where that takes us and hopefully we’ll have something that both sides are going to be happy with.” 

Alex Goligoski

It’s possible the Penguins could add another piece to their puzzle soon with yet another top prospect. Alex Goligoski, Pittsburgh’s 2004 second-round choice, is mulling whether to turn professional or return to the University of Minnesota for his senior season this fall.

He was the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, and a first-team AHCA All-American. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound blueliner ranked among the top scoring defensemen in the country with 39 points (9+30) in 44 games for the Golden Gophers. 

“We had said kind of by July 1 to let us know. I assume we’ll hear this week and I believe we’ll hear this week,” Shero said. “There was no league-mandated deadline or anything like that. We want him to be comfortable and we want his family and the school to be comfortable. If he elects to go back, that’s plenty of time for us to react to that; if he elects to come out, that hopefully gives the University of Minnesota plenty of time to make a decision on what to do with their scholarships. So, hopefully this week we’ll know.”

Nevertheless, Shero likes the Penguins’ structure.

“I am comfortable where we are. I thought it was important to have some of these guys back like Recchi and Roberts and now Sydor and let these kids grow together and around these good veterans,” he said. “We’re still a work in progress – there’s no doubt. But, I think we’re an improving team and I think that will make us a competitive team because of that.”

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