You could flesh out a pretty competitive lineup with free agents the Penguins have signed since 2005.
In fact, they have done just that.

Sergei Gonchar (2005) got here that way. So did Jarkko Ruutu (2006). And Petr Sykora (2007). And Matt Cooke (2008). And Paul Martin (2010). And Steve Sullivan (2011).

So did a number of others, not all of whom had the anticipated impact.

Zigmund Palffy, brought in as a linemate for rookie center Sidney Crosby in 2005, might be the prototype for that.

The NHL's 2013 free-agent signing period begins at noon today -- four days later than usual, thanks to the lockout that shut down the league for much of fall and winter -- and there's every indication the Penguins again will be involved.

Just not as prominently as most years.

Certainly not the way they were in 2012, when they vigorously pursued the top two players on the market, forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

Both ended up signing big-money deals with Minnesota.

There's no reason to think the Penguins will be offering gaudy contracts today, and not just because there's a fairly lackluster collection of free agents from which to choose.
They have little salary-cap space with which to work and no glaring voids that would have to be filled by a big-ticket talent.
NHL regulations do allow teams to exceed the salary-cap ceiling, which will be $64.3 million next season, by as much as 10 percent until the end of training camp but that's not a tool Penguins general manager Ray Shero has used since replacing Craig Patrick in 2006.