After making a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Sam Lafferty, the Pittsburgh Penguins have now come to terms on a contract extension with the young forward. The team has announced a two-year, $1.5MM contract for Lafferty. The 25-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent when the deal expires following the 2021-22 season.
While Lafferty’s new $750K AAV is actually a reduction from his prior NHL cap hit of $768K, it is a one-way contract that promises the local product more guaranteed money than his entry-level deal. Lafferty’s low cap hit will also make him a more valuable asset to the cap-strapped Penguins this year. Lafferty played 50 games with Pittsburgh in his rookie season, recording 13 points, and he will look to win and retain a full-time role again next season. If he can provide positive contributions on a consistent basis, the Penguins will appreciate his affordable impact.
Lafferty is still waivers-exempt and could potentially be sent down to the AHL,but it is a safe bet that he is in Pittsburgh for good. GM Jim Rutherford stated the following in the team’s press release announcing Lafferty’s extension: “We have been very pleased with Sam’s development. His size and speed are big advantages in today’s game, and we like what he brings to our lineup.”