The Pittsburgh Penguins have wrapped up their restricted free agent group. The team has announced that forward Sam Miletic has agreed to a new one-year contract. It is a two-way deal that carries the NHL minimum $700K salary. AHL terms were not disclosed. This signing leaves Pontus Aberg as the only unsigned RFA for Pittsburgh, but Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Matt Vensel notes that he plans to play in Europe this season.
Miletic, 23, is a former OHL standout whose game has more or less translated to the pros, at least through two AHL seasons. An undrafted prospect who earned a contract with Pittsburgh through his efforts at development camp, Miletic has gone on to record back-to-back seasons of more than 30 points. This has placed him among the leading scorers for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins both years and earned him an AHL All-Star nod this past year.
A hard-working forward with a decent amount of skill, Miletic projects as a third-line caliber player in the NHL, but may not get that opportunity this season. Although there is less certainty among the Penguins’ bottom-six than in years past, the starting jobs seem locked up at least to begin the year. Even if there was to be an opening, GM Jim Rutherford never hesitates to look for a trade first. If he does opt to promote from within, Miletic faces competition from Sam Lafferty, Jordy Bellerive, Anthony Angello, and veteran newcomers Frederick Gaudreau and Josh Currie to jump into an NHL role. However, if he can take a step forward in his AHL scoring, perhaps to lead WBS, then later this season or next year he will be more competitive.