In recent days the Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed two of their restricted free agents to very reasonable contracts. Center Teddy Blueger got a one-way contract for two years at $750,000 per year. Winger Zach Aston-Reese is locked down for two years at $1.0 million per season.
These two moves have essentially used up all of the Pens’ space under the 2019-20 NHL salary cap. The upper limit is $81.5 million per team, but Pittsburgh is handicapped in the amount of $132,500 due to bonus overages from last year – essentially making the Pens’ cap at $81.3675 million.
The team has basically $542,500 in remaining space at the moment, with 22 roster players — and still Marcus Pettersson to re-sign.
Obviously something is going to have to give here. Even if the team decides to go with seven defensemen and drop one of Chad Ruhwedel or Juuso Riikola to the AHL, that’s still not enough. From many reports, the Pens would like to give Pettersson a long-term deal, perhaps one that starts with a “$3” figure on it in yearly salary. And they’ll need as much cap space as possible for the future to bank for a trade deadline addition or just natural injury call-ups during the season.