Although the new five-year, $30MM deal the Penguins gave forward Jake Guentzel on Thursday really tightens their salary cap situation, GM Jim Rutherford told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that this doesn’t affect their projections for next season:
“This doesn’t put us in any cap difficulty for what our projections are and what our vision of the team is. If you’re going to be successful in the cap world, you have to have some guys coming who are going to be at the lower end of the pay scale.”
Considering that Pittsburgh now has just over $74MM committed to just 14 players for next season per CapFriendly, they are going to be needing a lot of players at the lower end of the pay scale. Even if the cap raises to $83MM as the league projects, that doesn’t leave much wiggle room for the Penguins to fill out a roster beyond players making close to the minimum salary. That could certainly affect their efforts to bring back pending UFA goalie Casey DeSmith who is off to a very strong start to his season and should command a notable raise this summer.
Other notes from the Metropolitan Division:
- The Capitals could have defenseman Brooks Orpik back as soon as Monday night, reports Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post. The 38-year-old has missed the last 26 games due to a knee injury and is currently on LTIR. Washington will have to do some salary cap manoeuvring in order to activate him as simply sending one of Jonas Siegenthaler or Tyler Lewington back to the minors won’t be enough to get them back into cap compliance. However, if Christian Djoos is going to be out for another week at a minimum, they can transfer him to LTIR which, when coupled with the demotion of one of their other blueliners, would be enough to be able to activate Orpik.
- Flyers center Nolan Patrick will miss the next three games due to an upper-body injury sustained on Thursday against Tampa Bay, notes Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer. His sophomore season has not gone as anyone has hoped as he has managed just five goals and six assists through 33 games, a pace that’s below his output from his rookie year. Winger Jordan Weal is set to take his place in the lineup.