The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with pending free agent forward Bryan Rust, keeping him in the organization long-term. Rust has agreed to a six-year contract worth a total of $30.75MM, an average annual value of $5.125MM. Penguins general manager Ron Hextall released a statement explaining:
Bryan exemplifies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. Since being drafted by Pittsburgh, he has developed into a versatile player and leader on our team, capable of contributing in any situation. His leadership qualities and experience as a two-time Stanley Cup champion is an important piece of our team.
While Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang take up most of the headlines in terms of pending free agents in Pittsburgh, Rust sat as arguably the most valuable of the three, at least when it came to a long-term extension. The versatile forward turned 30 just a few days ago and has been one of the team’s most consistent offensive performers over the last three seasons.
Consistent of course, only when Rust was actually in the lineup. When he played every game in the shortened 2020-21 campaign, it was the first time he’d accomplished the feat in his career. With a career-high of 72 games, and only 60 this season, there’s a fair argument that Rust–or at least the way he plays–brings more risk than the average player on a contract like this.
Still, an average annual value under $6MM for a forward that has been close to a point-per-game player for three years running is a nice bit of business for the Penguins, even if it does come at the cost of a few extra years. Rust has scored at least 22 goals in three straight and had 58 points this season. His play in the postseason has also been strong, with 21 goals in 79 career playoff games, including the two Stanley Cup runs in 2016 and 2017.
It’s that playoff-style hockey that is so appealing about Rust’s game, and what would have likely drawn plenty of interested parties had he reached the open market. Now, with him firmly in the mix for the next six years, the team can turn their attention to Malkin and Letang once again.
Darren Dreger of TSN broke the news that the two sides were close, while Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff filled in the details.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Honestly, Rust should fire his agent. BUT…I’m glad he signed this deal. Less money and term than I expected him to want.
Good work by Hextall…or maybe Crosby. Good deal either way.
If Rakell and Rodrigues are similarly reasonable in their asks, keeping them and dumping Kapanen would lead to a very strong RW group.
Update…not sure if this is true, but…
Evidently, Kapanen’s cap hit was 3.2 M AAV but it will only take a $1.4 M offer to qualify him because his last deal was mostly bonuses?
If so, I’d actually keep him at that price.
On the other hand
Might age like a $15 bottle of wine. Especially when/if Crosby Malik Letang age out or are
It literally doesn’t matter at that point.
The people who care more about the 2027 Pens finishing in 18th place instead of 28th than milking the Crosby era for all it’s got…
That’s a good contract. I’m assuming this means no return of Malkin? I don’t necessarily think that this would be a terrible thing for them anyways considering the years he’ll want at his age.
I don’t think this means anything in terms of Malkin. It might mean something in terms of Rakell but I certainly hope not.
Another brain dead term decision by a GM, When will they learn that after a player Is In his early 30s It’s time to go a year or two at a time otherwise you are just throwing money away.
The good players get money and term.
Moneypucking your way to an AHL team is what is brain dead.
Wow. This deal is actually so shockingly reasonable that I still don’t think it’s out of the question for them to retain both Malkin and Letang too. Whether they should, and at what price, those are different arguments. The Pens can’t get into too many bidding wars between Malkin, Letang, Rakell and Rodrigues.
Yeah, he actually kept to his opening comment, “I don’t want to break the bank”
I can’t speak to what it’s like to have multi millions at my disposal but it seems to me that if more players used Rust’s example, you’d have more allegiance to cities and teams. But alas, it’s more about ego than it is money, isn’t it?
I mean, is there really much of a difference between a contract that’s going to pay $18m as opposed to let’s say, $21m?
Here’s the year by year salary breakdown for Bryan Rust extension.
Can you please add this to the paragraph/story? Thanks!
Cap Friendly: Rust’s six-year extension with a $5.125 million salary cap hit.
2022-23: $6.1 million
2023-24: $6.1 million
2024-25: $6.1 million
2025-26: $5.13 million
2026-27: $3.66 million
2027-28: $3.66 million
He’ll have a full no-movement clause for the first three years of the contract. The last three years has no trade protection.