Penguins Salary Cap Situation Not Dire for Next Season
The new contract for Patric Hornqvist and the addition of Derick Brassard has added $8.3 million against the cap for next season.
Among the 16 players listed below, players currently on 1-way contracts or identified as full-time NHLers, Pittsburgh has approximately $69.3 million committed against the cap.
Forwards (8) | 1-way Contracts or Full-Time NHL Players
Evgeni Malkin – $9.5 million
Sidney Crosby – $8.7 million
Phil Kessel – $6.8 million
Patric Hornqvist – $5.3 million
Carl Hagelin – $4 million
Derick Brassard – $3 million
Conor Sheary – $3 million
Jake Guentzel – $734,167
Notable RFA’s: Bryan Rust, Riley Sheahan
Defensemen (6) | 1 Way Contracts
Kris Letang – $7.25 million
Justin Schultz – $5.5 million
Brian Dumoulin – $4.1 million
Olli Maatta – $4.083 million
Matt Hunwick – $2.25 million
Chad Ruhwedel – $650,000
Notable RFA’s: Jamie Oleksiak
Matt Murray – $3.75 million
Casey DeSmith – $675,000.00
With the salary cap projected to rise to at least $78 million for next season, with an unlikely best case scenario of $82 million (some executives feel it will fall right around $80 million), the Penguins are in okay shape to keep this current group together for at least one more season if they go on another deep run this spring.
Even with Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick having very tough contracts to move as the Penguins learned at the deadline, Pittsburgh has the luxury of filling out their forwards ranks with cheap labor in the mold of Zach Aston-Reese, Daniel Sprong, Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Adam Johnson, ect.
Because of that, the door is certainly open for this current group to have little turnover this summer like the 2016 off-season……. if the group warrants keeping together.
However, If the Penguins bow out early in the playoffs, all bets are off. It would surely be an entertaining summer on the rumor mill as those Kris Letang rumors from December when the Penguins gauged his trade value for a short-period in some bigger deals Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Though, talks were very, very preliminary at the time, league sources contend Rutherford even had trade discussions last summer with the Calgary Flames about Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Key Contract Situations to Watch for Next Season
The looming contract situation centers around Bryan Rust.
The 25 year old is on an absolute bargain deal with a cap hit of $640,000. Rust can play anywhere in the lineup, he’s a glue guy/big time playoff performer, and Rust goals/points per game the last two seasons are around a 20 goal-50 point type level were he to stay healthy and play a full season.
Another tidbit on the Rust situation is that he turns 27 in May 2019, therefore, would be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Little bit of leverage for his camp.
The Penguins internally have been bracing for a new deal for Rust to eventually fall somewhere in the Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Signing Rust long-term will be a priority with Pittsburgh seeking a term of Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
The other interesting RFA situation will be Jamie Oleksiak. He’ll be due a qualifying offer of $964,000 that will be declined with a shorter deal Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"