On the heels of Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola joining Mike Matheson on injured reserve, the Penguins are suddenly looking thin on the back end. Accordingly, TSN’s Darren Dreger notes on the latest Insider Trading segment (video link) that GM Jim Rutherford is now calling around to try to add some help on the back end.
One of the big challenges that Rutherford will face is fitting one under the cap. The team has roughly $1.9MM in cap room at the moment per CapFriendly but that will drop once they recall at least one blueliner from the taxi squad (either Pierre-Olivier Joseph or Kevin Czuczman) to get to six healthy options on the roster. At this point in the season, cap space hasn’t been able to bank so they will be limited in what they can go after. While Dreger notes that they’re looking for the best blueliner available, that cap situation will likely force them to look for a third-pairing option, one that they can afford.
While Pettersson and his $4.025MM AAV could be placed on LTIR, they’d need to get back into cap compliance before they could activate him which means they can’t really use that option aside from having a cheaper depth player up in his roster spot. It also likely puts their other talks on the back burner for now; last weekend, Pittsburgh was linked to Winnipeg restricted free agent winger Jack Roslovic but they’ll now need to re-prioritize and look for help on the back end first.