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Rutherford says re-signing Niskanen is ‘not going to be easy’

Jun 11, 2014, 7:16 PM EDT

Jim Rutherford, David Morehouse AP

Not even a week into his tenure as Penguins general manager, Jim Rutherford was in New York today for a meeting with his league counterparts prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Not surprisingly, there were a few GMs who had some trade “ideas” for him.

“Some people came after me today and there’s ideas out there,” said Rutherford, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I haven’t been throwing any ideas out, but I’ll listen. Obviously there’s going to be some new players there because just the position we’re in with the cap.”

One of Pittsburgh’s many unrestricted free agents is defenseman Matt Niskanen. Rutherford would like to re-sign the 27-year-old who finished the season with 46 points. Then again, so would a lot of teams.

“He had a good year and I’m trying to figure that out,” said Rutherford. “That’s not going to be easy, but certainly with the year he had we’d like to take a look at it.”

Related: I like Kris Letang,’ says Rutherford

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 11, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    As I said earlier in the day “Don’t overpay for a guy who was in a contract year!” Let some other team over pay him. It’s time to see what all our defensive prospects can do.

  2. pdmjr - Jun 11, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Martin is the glue and hopefully Letang recovers fully

    • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      I really thought Martin was horrible this year, and two years ago. Had a good 2012/2013 season. There’s such a rift between people that think the guy is good and people that think the guy is soft (and slow), it’s odd. I COMPLETELY respect your opinion, but I have such a hard time watching him. He and Orpik earned their negative +/- this year (though I like Orpik).

      I know +/- is a tainted stat, but for Defenders it holds some weight. There is a reason why Martin was a -4 and Niskanen was a +33. Even Maatta was better than Martin. I really hope Martin goes.

      • adamdep211rukus211 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:30 AM

        Maatta will be better than Martin eventually, but that’s gonna come with experience. I can see maatta being with the pens for a long time.he is just gonna get bigger,faster and stronger. Gotta keep nisky around just for his mentality. Watch interviews of him from the playoffs and you will quickly see he is the kind of player the pens need. I could see nisky maybe wearing an 🇦 on is sweater someday. Don’t het rid of the grit when that’s what we need. I kind of went off topic, but I would ditch Martin for nisky

  3. oquintero99 - Jun 11, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    I still can’t believe Rutherford is the Penguins GM
    *sigh

    • mangoman1966 - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Join the club

  4. c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    paul martin is a lot of things but he is not the “glue”. look to orpik for that.

    • pfhockey - Jun 12, 2014 at 5:32 AM

      Paul Martin is certainly better than Orpik.

      • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        What in the name of all that is good in gravy is Paul Martin good at? He’s decent (not irreplaceable) at moving the puck. Not as good as Niskanen at it, in my opinion. Niskanen can skate with the puck if nothing’s open. Martin, not so much. QB’ing the PP? He’s decent. Not irreplaceable. Defending? HORRIBLE.

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        yes. you are right.

        point?

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        your alone here 412.

        paul martin is known by smart people outside of pittsburgh to be one of the better defenders in the game. understated, but very good.

        hell post 40-45 pts in a shutdown role next year guaranteed.

    • pmac26 - Jun 12, 2014 at 6:53 AM

      It’s very likely that Orpik won’t even be a Penguin when the season starts. If it were up to me Letang wouldn’t be either.

      • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

        I’d keep Letang and Orpik and get rid of Martin, and possibly Scuderi.

      • pmac26 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

        It’s gonna be very hard to move Scuderi, Shero overpaid for him and he showed this past season that it’s pretty much over for him. I’d only keep Orpik at a greatly reduced rate, he’s proven to be a liability with his age and lack of speed. Letang is going to eat up way too much valuable cap space.

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        good thing its not up to you.

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        age and lack of speed? hes 33 and is faster than hes ever been

        tried of people who have no idea what they are talking about just making blind statements…

        watched the guy play for well over 10 years now. hes as fast or faster than hes ever been, and hes a player that was drafted in the first round a great deal because of his skating.

      • pmac26 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Did you watch any games this year? Teams skate past him like he’s standing still!!!!!! It’s not a blind statement it’s a fact! He’s not faster than he’s ever been he flatly can’t get the job done anymore. He got exposed in the olympics and exploited after the olympics. Talk about the game after you learn it!!!!!!!

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:19 PM

        haha ok..

    • adamdep211rukus211 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:32 AM

      No matter how many thumbs down you got. The pens D fell apart when orpik got hurt in the playoffs.

      • c9castine - Jun 14, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        sure did, didnt it.

  5. claysbar - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Martin – Maatta
    Letang – Bortuzzo
    Despres – Scuderi
    Engo/Dumoulin/Samuelsson

    • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      engelland is not getting resigned.

      bortuzzo as a 4th defenseman?

      your high. im jealous but i hope you dont think the pens would actually field that defense next year

      • claysbar - Jun 12, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Given his limited skill set anymore, wouldn’t really trust Scuderi as the 4th and you need someone who can stay back for when, not if, Letang get’s caught being somewhere he shouldn’t be. Engo is nice to have around just due to being not bad, not good, but not bad as a utility 7th D/ 4th liner. This is just talking if they plan to build up the depth up front on the forwards which is what they really need.

  6. massconn72 - Jun 12, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    I can’t remember how or why Martin left the Devils? UFA or trade? Whatever the reason, I’m glad he is gone. You can keep him. We don’t want him back.

    • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      UFA I believe. So many people in Pittsburgh LOVE the guy. I have a hard time watching him.

    • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      yeah devils have looked great since he left.

      when the devils allow more goals in a season than the penguins, you know they have lost their identity.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 12, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        I agree the Devils have lost the identity that they were once known for, but it happened far before Paul Martin left… it was just so much easier to be a defensive machine when there was no salary cap. I mean Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Danekyo, Brian Rafalski, Oleg Tverdovsky, Colin White, and Martin Brodeur on the 03 team. That’s 6 out of 7 All-Star caliber players on the backend… then boom: lockout, salary cap, and no more dynasty.

      • c9castine - Jun 12, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        devils sustained their model after the lockout for a time.

        im not saying its all paul martin for those few years or anything but he was a +51 his last 3 years in NJ and that includes +10 in 22 games the year he was injured.

        the year after he left their top scoring defenseman, andy greene, was a -23. he wasnt alone.

        that was also the year Kovalchuk signed with the Devils and seemed to completely twist their indentity and led to Paul Martin and not long after Zach Parise walking out the door.

        the dynasty ended with the lockout i agree but they were still them until about 4-5 years ago.

  7. adamdep211rukus211 - Jun 14, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    I hate to say it, but it’s gonna suck watching orpik go. Obviously the D fell apart when he was taken out of the playoffs. We needed his hits and lead for the D. Nisky has a good head on his shoulders and knows how to grind. Don’t care if it’. Gonna be tough Rutherford, it’s your job to keep him. We have Pouliout coming up mid season, and maatta is just gonna get bigger,faster,smarter and stronger. If orpik goes we are gonna need a vet to teach the youngins.yea letang has great training and prep skills, but don’t know if he is a good mentor. Either way bottom line is we gott. Let the young guys get some ice time, and keep nisky because he is exactly the kind of player we need.

  8. rsmaggiemae - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Would love to see Niskanen come back home to Minny to play, but that looks doubtful
    Heard a rumor that LeTang and Neal might be on the chopping block in Pitt
    anyone else hear that???

    • adamdep211rukus211 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      No I haven’t heard that, but I really don’t see Tanger going. Rutherford likes him and flower. Neal on the other hand would be great to get rid of. Only reason he gets so many points is because of sid and malkin. Get a gritty forward instead of neals cherry pickin ass. Even 2 decent forwards would be better.

  9. adamdep211rukus211 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    I don’t care what it takes Rutherford, it’s your job to figure out a way to keep niskanen. Whatever you have to do, do it. We have young prospects eager to get some ice time and you need to make that happen too. Just do your job, keep niskanen and get some grit to our forward game. Get it done Rutherford!!! Don’t want to see no Carolina BS trades and management.

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