Injuries have tested Pittsburgh’s already tricky salary cap situation in recent games and with the back end being banged up at the moment, reinforcements were needed. The Penguins created some short-term cap space to create room for a recall as they announced that center Nick Bonino has been placed on LTIR while recalling blueliner Mark Friedman from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Last weekend, the team revealed that Bonino suffered a lacerated kidney in just his third game with the team. While he had been released from the hospital, he was still ruled out as week-to-week. That now changes to 10 games and 24 days from the date of injury, the minimum requirements for a player to be placed on LTIR. Given the initial timeframe, it’s still possible that Bonino is able to return to the lineup before the end of the regular season.
With the placement, Pittsburgh adds $1.025MM to its LTIR pool; while Bonino’s true cap hit is double that amount, Montreal held back an additional $1.025MM as part of a three-team trade at the deadline earlier this month.
That move allows Pittsburgh to be able to afford Friedman’s $775K cap hit on their active roster. The 27-year-old has played in 11 games with the Penguins this season in a depth role plus another 24 in the minors where he has a goal and five assists in 24 contests.
Notably, the Penguins are still only able to afford just this one recall as the leftover difference between Bonino’s cap hit and Friedman’s plus the $375K they had in their pool before this move (per CapFriendly), is just $625K which is below the $750K league minimum. Accordingly, if more recalls will be needed, they’re going to have to get quite creative to make it happen.