Pens and Wings have big decisions looming

BY foxsports • June 16, 2009

With the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals now history, the general managers of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings now have to begin preparing their rosters for next season.

Thanks to the salary cap, expected to remain close to this season's level of $56.7 million, those rosters could have a different look next season.

Both clubs fortunately have their core players under contract for well beyond next season, boding well for their hopes of yet another Stanley Cup Final rematch.

For the Penguins, those core players include forwards Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and team captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Brooks Orpik and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, while the Red Wings welcome back forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, plus veteran defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski.

Still, Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero and Detroit GM Ken Holland will be facing some tough decisions over which players to retain and those they'll have to let go via trades or free agency.

Shero's free agents this summer include forwards Bill Guerin, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko, defensemen Hal Gill, Philippe Boucher and Rob Scuderi plus backup goaltender Mathieu Garon. The Penguins GM has just over $46.8 million committed to 14 players for 2009-10.

Reports out of Pittsburgh suggest Sykora, who earned $2.5 million this season but was a healthy scratch for most of the playoffs, probably won't be re-signed. Satan, who spent part of the season in the minors due to salary cap constraints, also isn't expected to return.

It's believed Shero hopes to retain the 29-year-old Scuderi, who made only $725K this season, but his strong performance in this year's playoffs raised his stock considerably and he could command over $2 million per season on the open market.