Tuesday: The Penguins have officially announced the contract.
Monday: Jim Rutherford and his Pittsburgh Penguins got an earlier start to this postseason than they would have liked, but they are using the extra time to their advantage. In the midst of swirling trade rumors, the team has now made three signings since their playoff exit, the latest of which has come to light this evening. According to CapFriendly, the Penguins have re-signed forward Thomas DiPauli to a one-year, two-way extension. DiPauli is set to make the new 2019-20 minimum salary of $700K at the NHL level and $100K at the AHL level, with $135K guaranteed. The AHL numbers are a slight raise from this past season, but come in just under those of fellow minor league forward Joseph Cramarossa, who re-upped with the Penguins on Thursday.
The new deal for DiPauli prevents the young forward from leaving this off-season. DiPauli, who celebrates his 25th birthday today, just narrowly qualified as a Group 6 unrestricted free agent as a player of age 25 or older who has completed three or more seasons of pro hockey without playing in a total of 80 NHL games. In fact, DiPauli has played in zero NHL games thus far, due largely in part to struggling with long-term injuries suffered in two of his three pro seasons. Yet, the shifty forward showed enough in just 29 AHL games this season to earn a new contract, registering 15 points and a +6 rating for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
DiPauli, a native of Italy who also holds American citizenship, originally came to the Penguins as a college free agent in 2016. A fourth-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 2012, the U.S. National Team Develop Program product played four years at the University of Notre Dame and starred alongside promising prospects like Boston’s Anders Bjork and Montreal’s Jake Evans. Following his senior year, DiPauli opted not to sign with the Capitals, instead holding out until August to sign with the rival Penguins. There were some expectations that DiPauli could crack the Pittsburgh lineup in year one and become yet another quick, versatile forward who could excel in the Penguins system. Perhaps that role is still on the horizon, as the Penguins seemed determined to keep DiPauli around despite his lack of impact at the NHL level thus far.