The other restricted free agent at the NHL level for the Penguins this off-season is center Dustin Jeffrey. It’s a negotiation that figures to be a much easier one for GM Ray Shero than the one he will have with Tyler Kennedy’s agent Steve Bartlett.
However, it can also be considered a “tricky” negotiation for the Penguins.
At this time though talks have yet to get going between Shero and Jeffrey’s new reps at CAA Sports.
Looking forward, should the Penguins commit to anything beyond a qualifying offer?:
Jeffrey appeared to be on his way to possibly earning a 1-way contract this off-season until he hurt his knee against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 24th. The injury required surgery and Jeffrey’s timetable for recovery is 6 months.
He had 7 goals and 12 points in 25 games at the NHL level.
The Penguins are operating under the assumption that Jeffrey will be healthy for the start of next season but it would be foolish for the Penguins to commit to a one-way contract and Jeffrey’s in the situation where the Penguins should only offer a qualifying offer and both sides see how things play out next season.
Already not a great skater, there are not only concerns about what type of skater Jeffrey will be following the knee surgery but the biggest question mark is whether there’s a spot for him on the roster.
Like many Penguins, Jeffrey best position is center and it’s a position that is full. If the Penguins intend to go back to their three center model, Jeffrey’s only shot at playing center would be on the 4th line where he would still have a lot of competition.
Dan Bylsma hinted in his exit meeting presser that Jeffrey and Mark Letestu could be battling for one spot.
The Penguins developed Jeffrey at wing in Wilkes Barre at times over the past two seasons but the team kind of scratched that idea last season.