The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed another bottom-six forward, inking Mark Jankowski. Jankowski was not given a qualifying offer from the Calgary Flames and became an unrestricted free agent. He has signed a one-year deal worth just $700K. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford released a statement on the deal:
Mark is another versatile player that gives us an option at the center position. His added experience on the penalty kill, where he has had success over the last few seasons, makes him a good fit for our team.
Pittsburgh needed to add some depth forwards in free agency, but Jankowski could actually still be more than just a fourth-line option. The 26-year-old was originally a first-round pick in 2012 and scored 17 goals as a rookie in 2017-18. Though his offense has dropped off since then, he is a legitimate NHL forward that will now be extremely inexpensive for the Penguins.
In fact, it could have even made sense for the Flames to issue the $1.75MM qualifying offer that Jankowski was owed. Those two sides seemed destined for a breakup, but there is real value here for the Penguins even in a limited role.