The Penguins have made some book keeping signings this week, agreeing to one year, two-way contracts with restricted free agents Jason Megna and Philip Samuelsson.
The Penguins also announced today the team has agreed to a three year entry level contract with 2014 first roud pick Kasperi Kapanen. The deal begins when he turns professional. The Penguins plan to invite Kapanen to training camp in September. Despite playing against men in Europe, scouts strongly claim Kapanen is not ready for the NHL, at least 1-2 years away, but Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has gone on the record saying he believes Kapanen has a chance to make the team out of camp.
We’ll get our first look at Kapanen next week at the Penguins development camp.
As for Megna and Samuelsson, it’s up in the air whether either will be in Pittsburgh for start of season.
Megna will make $874,125 at the NHL level, Samuelsson will make $550,000 in the NHL.
Megna projects to battle for one of the final forward spots in training camp but has options to be sent down to the minors without having to clear waivers. The Penguins anticipate being very tight against the cap for the start of the season, and if the Penguins are right up against the cap, it will be interesting if a Zach Sill who is making slightly less than Megna, at $550,000, would get the edge over Megna for the final roster spot as every cent could matter.
Megna’s chances of making the opening night roster will strongly enhance if Beau Bennett recovering from major wrist surgery, is not ready when season begins.
Samuelsson will be an interesting player in training camp as he is eligible for waivers. The Penguins believe Olli Maatta won’t be ready for the start of the season, so barring no veteran defenseman getting traded, the Penguins will have two spots up for grabs in camp with Maatta not expected to be ready.
Among the top candidates to fill those spots will be:
1. Simon Despres, a lock to make the opening day roster, is waiver eligible.
2. Brian Dumoulin, had a very strong playoff run with Wilkes Barre, Penguins officials feel he is ready but can be sent down to minors without having to clear waivers.
3. Philip Samuelsson, Being waiver eligible helps his case but if the Penguins standpat, they would have a decision to make quickly on Samuelsson who despite his progression as a reliable defensive-defenseman, is not looked at by team officials as a young core defenseman. The name and pedigree of being a second round pick, makes it very unlikely he would clear waivers.
4. Scott Harrington, Has a very good chance of being the best of the bunch, defenseman who can play in all situations. Won’t be a shock if he goes into camp and makes an Olli Maatta type bid of pushing his way onto the roster, but the numbers game makes it likely he spends a few months in Wilkes Barre and some feel he could still use some time down there.