Free Agent Focus: Jordan Leopold

Part of an ongoing series that looks at potential free agents on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jordan Leopold
Penguin since: 2010
Cap Hit [Cap Geek]: $1.75 Million/season
2009-2010 Stats []:
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Jordan Leopold joined the Penguins at the trade deadline.  He scored four goals and recorded four assists in 20 games with the Pens.  In the playoffs he was knocked out by Andy Sutton in game two of the first round and missed several games.

Leopold has a history of concussions and head injuries that could impact his future.  In addition to missing five games during the playoffs, Leopold also missed five in 2008 and four in 2002, both with head injuries. A player can only sustain so many concussions before he has to hang them up for his own safety.

Cap space and roster space could also be a reason Leopold may suit up for another team in October.  If Ray Shero manages to sign both Sergei Gonchar and Dan Hamhuis as has been mentioned as a possibility, they likely won't be able to sign Leopold as well.  The money just isn't there.  The Pens currently have four defensemen signed to contracts for next season (Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Alex Goligoski and Ben Lovejoy.)  Depending on who else signs with the team, there may be no room for Leopold on the Penguins' blue line.  If you add Derek Engelland to the equation, it seems even more unlikely that Leopold will return.

However, if Ray Shero thinks that both Gonchar and Hamhuis will decide to walk on July 1st, Jordan Leopold may be his next option.  Then the question becomes "How much will they pay him, and how much could he get elsewhere?"

Leopold returning definitely depends on what happens with Gonchar and Hamhuis.  It looks like Ray Shero has made the decision to spend significant dollars on defense, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Next time: Everyone else