With January 1st quickly approaching and being the first day that players on one-year contracts can sign contract extensions, it’s likely we’ll see some activity on that front fairly soon. One player that appears to be likely to get one is Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford told Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that they plan to start those talks as early as possible:
We owe it to him to have that discussion at the earliest time we can have it. We both agreed to do a different contract that he ultimately took because it’s the only thing we could do with the cap situation. Now that we’ve moved Gudbranson, we’ve got some cap space.
Last summer, it was reported that Pettersson was intent on getting a multi-year deal done but with the limited funds they had, all they were able to afford was a one-year deal at his qualifying offer that checked in at just over $874K. As Rutherford alluded to, now that Erik Gudbranson and his $4MM salary through 2020-21 is in Anaheim, the Penguins now have some financial flexibility to get a longer-term deal in place with Pettersson.
The 23-year-old is averaging nearly 19 minutes per night this season and has become a fixture in their top four. His offensive numbers are limited (1-12-13 in 36 games) which will limit his overall earnings upside but he should still surpass the $2MM mark without much difficulty as he’s now into his arbitration-eligible years. Vensel notes that a multi-year deal has basically been agreed upon over the summer and would have been done if not for the cap situation so it will be interesting to see how quickly the two sides can work out a deal starting next week.