After being included in a trade earlier this summer, Evan Rodrigues is headed back to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The forward ended up going unqualified by the Toronto Maple Leafs after they acquired him as part of the package for Kasperi Kapanen, meaning he was an unrestricted free agent that could sign anywhere. Well, he decided to return to Pittsburgh, signing a one-year contract worth $700K. GM Jim Rutherford released a statement on the deal:
We were pleased with Evan’s play during his brief stint with us last season. His versatility and ability to play all three forward positions, especially center, is an asset that gives us options and adds depth to our forward group.
Rodrigues, 27, has shown glimpses of high-end NHL talent over his short career but never quite put things together for a long stretch. An undrafted free agent signing by the Buffalo Sabres out of Boston University, he has 72 points in 199 career NHL games including a career-high of 29 in the 2018-19 season.
In Pittsburgh, he’ll be battling for a bottom-six role but can provide some nice depth for a team that is still trying to win the Stanley Cup. Undrafted college free agents have found a ton of success over the years in the Penguins organization, hopefully Rodrigues can be the next example of that.