What happening with the Penguins was always going to. It’s non-negotiable.
In today’s realm of pro sports, few age gracefully.
The Golden State Warriors kept their old gang together. They’re 6-9 and recently lost five straight. LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers are 3-10.
The Penguins may dig out. The Warriors probably will.
But mostly, winning is for the young.
GM Ron Hextall was praised for keeping the Penguins' old gang together, and at reasonable pricing.
But the contracts he gave Kasperi Kapanen and Jeff Carter do the Penguins a disservice.
Kapanen got a two-year deal worth $3.2 million per this past off-season. He wouldn’t have gotten an offer anywhere near that from another NHL team, and might not have got any offers at all.
Carter, 37, inked a two-year extension with an average annual value of $3.125 million last January.
Neither player is productive enough.
Carter has two goals and six assists in 13 games but has just 10 goals in 60 games since signing his new contract.
Kapanen has a goal and four assists in 13 games and is usually among the healthy scratches lately.
Carter is just old. That’s his problem. Even by the Penguins’ current standard.
Kapanen just stinks. His effort comes and goes. He’s predictable. He talks about having to change, but doesn’t. He’s all lip service, GetGo commercials, fancy outfits worn to the rink and wasted promise. All hat, no cattle.
Why did Hextall give those deals to those players?
Hextall’s first tenure with Philadelphia management overlapped Sami Kapanen’s time as a Flyers player. (Sami is Kasperi’s father.)
Hextall’s time in Los Angeles’ front office partly paralleled Carter’s years with the Kings.
Hockey has always been all about the buddy system.
If that theory is a reach, provide good reasons to give those contracts. There aren't any.
The Penguins have just $72k in salary cap space.
The contracts for Carter and Kapanen are big reasons the Penguins have no cap flexibility. Why defenseman Ty Smith is stuck in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton even though he played well enough to make the team in pre-season.