After I was a bit child, I confess on multiple event to standing outdoors a retailer, my nostril pressed in opposition to a show window, watching a toy I coveted however couldn’t afford. Form of like Ralphie ogling the “official Crimson Ryder carbine motion, 200-shot, vary mannequin air rifle with a compass within the inventory and this factor that tells time” by way of Higbee’s window in A Christmas Story.
I’m no capologist. Nevertheless, after taking a cursory look at our current wage cap state of affairs, I ponder if the identical factor’s going to occur with our Penguins when free company hits on July 28.
In response to CapFriendly, we’re presently sitting at $82.7 million…roughly $1.2 million above the restrict. Puckpedia, which lists Anthony Angello, Kasper Bjorkqvist, P-O Joseph, Drew O’Connor and Juuso Riikola as non-roster gamers, paints a considerably rosier image, giving us roughly $2.5 million of cap house.
When you think about the Pens have 4 unrestricted free brokers and 4 restricted free brokers amongst their current roster? I’m scratchin’ my head attempting to determine how GM Ron Hextall goes to work this out, not to mention fill some areas of perceived want (a goalie, a bodily ahead and defenseman) from the free-agent market or by way of a commerce.
An unlucky finish results of Jim Rutherford’s spend-to-the-hilt methods.
Among the many inner candidates, I determine we’ll let Colton Sceviour (UFA) and Mark Jankowski (RFA) stroll. That also leaves RFAs Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger and Radim Zohorna and UFAs Frederick Gaudreau and Evan Rodrigues among the many forwards and UFA Cody Ceci on protection.
Whereas I’d assume Hextall would have an curiosity in bringing all of them again, clearly that’s wishful pondering except we by some means clear a major quantity of cap house.
Loads hinges on the upcoming growth draft, slated for July 21. There’s at all times hope the Seattle Kraken will choose Jason Zucker, certain to be left unprotected. That will lighten our cap load by a cool $5.5 million and provides Hextall some much-needed wiggle room.
Maybe some form of deal might be struck to induce Kraken GM Ron Francis to select Zucker, much like what Rutherford did again in 2017 when he despatched a second-round decide to Vegas to make sure the Golden Knights took Marc-Andre Fleury.
Downside is, we don’t precisely have prime draft picks and/or expendable younger expertise rising on timber. And it’s exhausting to think about Francis taking up that form of wage, particularly when comparatively cheap and extra interesting gamers corresponding to Aston-Reese and Blueger (and presumably Jared McCann and/or Brandon Tanev) will seemingly be out there.
Though Hextall would possibly choose to open up cap house by buying and selling a Jake Guentzel or a Marcus Pettersson, most groups aren’t seeking to tackle added wage within the face of COVID-induced flat-cap economics.
What’s a GM to do?
Want I knew.
Muddying the waters even additional, all of our RFAs apart from Bjorkqvist are arbitration eligible, giving them further leverage in negotiations. It’s been advised on different websites that the Pens non-tender their RFAs and attempt to work out team-friendly facet offers to keep away from the arbitration course of.
Backside line? It provides as much as a reasonably messy state of affairs that’s going to be an actual take a look at of Hextall’s administration expertise. Whereas I’ve loads of religion in him, it’ll be a monumental problem to say the least, one which’ll require a Midas contact. Let’s hope he’s as much as the duty.
If not, our Pens could possibly be quite a bit like that little child from Bethel Park, nostril pressed in opposition to the glass, staring longingly on the free brokers and potential commerce targets as they go on by.
Two gamers who had been on the black-and-gold payroll final season have moved on. Ahead Josh Currie signed to play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL on June 11. Goaltender Emil Larmi signed a two-year pact with Lahden of Finland’s Liiga on Could 31.
Assistant coach Mike Vellucci was a candidate for the vacant Columbus Blue Jackets teaching place. The Blue Jackets wound up hiring long-time assistant Brad Larsen.
*Make sure to take a look at Rick Bukers books,
out there at TriumphBooks.com,