Pittsburgh Penguins restricted free agent defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was one of 44 NHL players to file for salary arbitration yesterday. Oleksiak is the Penguins lone unsigned restricted free agent. The Penguins recently signed other NHL restricted free agents Bryan Rust to a four-year, $14 million contract extension, signed Riley Sheahan to a one-year, $2.1 million dollar deal and did not tender forward Tom Kuhnhackl a qualifying offer.
Last season, the Penguins acquired Oleksiak through a combination of trades. General Manager Jim Rutherford sent forward Josh Archibald to Arizona in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round selection. Rutherford then sent that pick to the Dallas Stars for the struggling Oleksiak. Dallas selected Oleksiak 14th overall in the 2011 draft but he had not lived up to the Stars expectations.
Oleksiak, 25, was a frequent healthy scratch when the Penguins acquired him on December 19, 2017.
Oleksiak scored at a career-best rate with the Penguins. He had 14 points (4g, 10a) in 47 games which equated to .29 points per game. He also had the highest average ice time of any season in which he played more than 10 games (17:24).
The Penguins were required to offer Oleksiak $1 million to retain his rights because he made $964,000 last season. Factoring ice time and points, Oleksiak figures to command more than $2 million or he could be a prime candidate for an offer sheet from another team. If Oleksiak were to sign a tender from another team under $2.029 million, that team would owe the Penguins a third-round draft choice. The Penguins would be owed a second-round pick if the offer was above $2.029 million.
Arbitration hearings are scheduled for later this month through early August.