I think signing him to a 2 year deal would be a good option. I do think if he keeps turning his game around, we could get more than just a 2nd rounder for him. Offensive defensemen are at a premium in the league right now, and Niskanen can still bump his stock up a bit more.
Tough call on this one. I think it all depends on what they plan to do with Martin. If they move him and lock up Sid and Staal, then I think Nisky stays for another season or 2.
If they keep Martin, then a few smaller pieces like Nisky and TK are probably gone. In a cap era if you have similar options, save every dime you can.
Id package TK and Nisky and try to get a forward with a decent skillset to give our top 6 some flexibility, keep Martin at least until next years trade deadline. Then you evaluate Desperes, Morrow, Strait, Harrington, Bortuzzo, Sneep etc. and go from there.
I think come next training camp, Nisky and Lovejoy are on the outside looking in anyway. No sense to pay a 5th d-man 2.-2.5 when we are tight up to the cap as it is, let alone at worst lateral options waiting.
As always, Shero will make the right decisions and we will put the best team on the ice as we can.
I know, Niskanen has grown on me too. He's great this season. He knows when to take the penalty like when he tripped up Vrabata on a empty net Monday. It'll be tough, I say Martin out, Nisky can make those eggs.
The good thing is - you will never see that defensive lineup ever. However, it's still a nice group of guys that came from our organization.
I think its reasonable to assume that Letang, Despres, Morrow, and Harrington will be apart of our future defensive line up. The other two I assume with be filled via signings or trades. But again, it would be nice to have those other guys available as call ups...though its more likely that they will be used as trade bait eventually.
The most extreme case could be Shero holding on to both (Martin and Niskanen) until the deadline, then dealing one for a winger. But that seems unlikely, due to potential cap complications during the season. Dealing Niskanen during the draft/off season might be the best bet.
I always have a problem speculating about topics like this because it's impossible for me to take an objective stance on what I would do in that situation. I would easily take the league minimum to play on the Pens, and not just because I'm a fan, but because they are truly "the team to beat". This isn't just *my* opinion, this is the opinion of many people from all markets in the league.
That being said, these guys are professional athletes and have more to think about than just the immediate future... I was actually just thinking I'd like to put a poll on the main boards to see just how much pay people would sacrifice to play on "the team to beat". I think it could be a pretty good discussion, since it can be seen from so many different angles (no honor in playing on a stacked team just for a cup vs the cup being the ultimate achievement, etc).
I'm still a rookie user though so I don't think I can post polls.