The rise of RFA paydays has General Manager Jim Rutherford spooked a bit and it has the Penguins already tabbing a long-term deal for Olli Maatta as a top priority between now and the middle of next season, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
The Penguins have reached out to Maatta’s reps at CAA Sports expressing a willingness to discuss a long-term deal with both sides planning to hold negotiations on a new deal before training camp. No timetable on getting a new deal has been established but the Penguins hope to have a deal worked out before the new year.
Maatta entering the final year of his contract, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016.
For both sides what type of value do you put on Maatta?
Coming off two major shoulder injuries on the same shoulder and only having 98 career NHL games under his belt, ideally a bridge contract would be best for the Penguins in the $3-$4 million range but with Maatta so advanced and projected to play a top pairing role this season, the Maatta camp already views Maatta as being in line for a Dougie Hamilton (6 years, $34.5 million) type deal and possibly more if they were to wait things out.
Maatta’s agents Pat Brisson and JP Barry also represent Hamilton.
Unlike Hamilton who didn’t want to return to Boston, Maatta wants to stay in Pittsburgh.
This summer has seen prominent restricted free agents on the move in Brandon Saad and Hamilton both traded due to the expectation from both teams that RFA offer sheets were coming.
The Penguins currently have close to $56 million committed to 11 players for the 2016-2017 season. The Penguins have informed agents for notable players entering the last year of their contract, David Perron one of key players, that they have to take care of an extension for Maatta first before they could discuss a possible extension.