The Pittsburgh Penguins had one arbitration hearing on the books this off-season and it can now be canceled. The team announced that they have agreed to terms on a new contract with defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. It is a three-year extension that carries a cap hit of approximately $2.14MM.
Oleksiak, 25, flourished in 2017-18 after a mid-season trade from the Dallas Stars. The 6’7″, 255-lb. bruiser had always been a difficulty to play against, but his offensive game developed nicely when he was given increased ice time and responsibility on the Pittsburgh blue line. In 47 regular season games with the Penguins, Oleksiak recorded 14 points; he had only managed to score 22 total points prior in 140 games with Dallas. He also took far more shots and carried the puck more often following the trade. Not only did this offensive uptick not come at the cost of defense, but Oleksiak actually improved his physical game with 138 hits with Pittsburgh – more than double his previous career high in any season with the Stars.
Oleksiak set career marks across the board with Pittsburgh and looked at home with his new team. Both sides are likely very happy with the term of this contract, while the salary is a nice bump for Oleksiak after six seasons coming in at under $1MM. The Penguins now have the bulk of their top six – Oleksiak, Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Jack Johnson, and Olli Maatta – signed through 2020-21. The deal does move Pittsburgh ever closer to the cap though; the team is currently projected to enter the upcoming season with just $745K in space with their current 23-man roster. The Penguins likely aren’t done making moves this off-season.