The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially made a $1.75 million qualifying offer to defenseman Matt Niskanen, sources confirmed to Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com. The qualifying offer was made on Thursday.
Though talks are in the very early stages, sources involved in the negotiations indicate a mutual interest has been expressed between the Penguins and Niskanen about a multi-year deal.
The plan between the two sides is work off the qualifying offer and hopefully reach a multi-year deal at somepoint this summer.
The Penguins are said to be interested in a two to three year deal.
Niskanen’s fate with the team had been up in the air due to a strong group of prospects being ready to make the jump to the NHL. That group includes Simon Despres, and pending restricted free agents Brian Strait and Robert Bortuzzo who are both eligible for waivers.
The Penguins though determined out of their scouting meetings that Niskanen will be apart of the top-6 next season. Head coach Dan Bylsma is a strong supporter of Niskanen’s.
PENS BLUELINE UNDER CONTRACT (1-way) FOR 2012-2013
Paul Martin – $5 million cap hit
Zbynek Michalek – $4 million cap hit
Brooks Orpik – $3.75 million cap hit
Kris Letang – $3.5 million cap hit
Deryk Engelland – $566,667 cap hit
Ben Lovejoy – $525,000 cap hit
IN THE SYSTEM (2-WAY)
Simon Despres – $840,000 NHL cap hit
Joe Morrow – $894,167 NHL cap hit
*Morrow is eligible for Wilkes Barre/Scranton next season*
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Matt Niskanen – Team has made a $1.75 million qualifying offer and is expressing possible interest in a 2 to 3 year deal
Brian Strait – will receive a qualifying offer and is eligible for waivers
Robert Bortuzzo – will receive a qualifying offer and is eligible for waivers