With the Penguins re-signing center Zach Aston-Reese earlier this week, they’re down to just one remaining restricted free agent in defenseman Marcus Pettersson. However, it doesn’t appear as if a contract will be getting done for him anytime soon. His agent, Peter Wallen, told Dave Molinari of DK Pittsburgh Sports that they are waiting for the team to make a move to free up salary cap space before agreeing to a new deal.
As things stand, Pittsburgh is basically right against the $81.5MM Upper Limit depending on who fills the final few spots on their roster. GM Jim Rutherford has indicated that he doesn’t believe he needs to make a move to add cap room and that they’re content running with a roster size below the maximum of 23 in order to make that happen.
However, it’s hard to argue that Pettersson doesn’t deserve a raise on his base salary of $832.5K from last season. After being acquired from Anaheim, the 23-year-old played a regular role for them, logging nearly 18 minutes a night in 57 games while chipping in with a respectable 19 points as well. While he didn’t have salary arbitration eligibility, he has done well enough to surpass the $1MM mark on his next deal, a price tag that the team probably can’t afford at this moment.
While Wallen indicated that Pettersson wants to be signed well before training camp gets underway in order to get a work visa in place so that he doesn’t miss any time, he also stated that the blueliner is willing to be patient:
There’s no rush. We have good conversations with management. We’re not in a fight or anything. The communication is good. We know where they are. We know what they want to do.
As teams have made their final settlements with their arbitration-eligible players, there are a few teams around the league that are going to be dealing with a cap crunch. Pittsburgh appears to be one of those squads as they look to get Pettersson signed in the weeks to come.