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NHL Free Agency

Penguins Sign Nylander; Qualify Joseph, Bjorkqvist

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, ALEX NYALNDER

CRANBERRY — Scratch forward Alex Nylander off the list of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ potential free agents.

GM Ron Hextall avoided having to qualify Nylander getting him to agree to a one-year, two-way contract that carries a $750,000 salary-cap hit if/when Nylander is in the NHL.

The Penguins acquired Nylander, 24, from Chicago for Sam Lafferty Jan. 5. He never cracked the major-league lineup, but had 14 goals and 16 assists in 44 games with their American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.

Shortly after his signing was revealed, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that restricted free agents Kasperi Kapanen, P.O Joseph and Kasper Bjorkqvist have received qualifying offers, and that a long list of players will not, making them unrestricted and free to sign with any team.

Bjorkqvist, who has signed to play in his native Finland next season, was a bit of a surprise, but it was a given that Joseph, the organization’s top defense prospect, would be qualified.

By qualifying Kapanen, Joseph and Bjorkqvist, the Penguins assured themselves of being able to match any offer those players might receive from another club, or to receive compensation if they opt against matching.

The group that was not includes forwards Danton Heinen, Justin Almeida, Jordy Bellerive and Jan Drozg, defensemen Niclas Almari, Cam Lee, Will Reilly and goalie Alex D’Orio.

The Penguins still are allowed to negotiate with any of those players, although there was no immediate indication of whether they plan to do so.

Nylander, who was Buffalo’s first-round draft choice in 2016, has 13 goals and 19 assists in 84 NHL games with the Sabres and Blackhawks.

His most productive season in the NHL was 2019-20, when he put up 10 goals and 16 assists in 65 games for Chicago.

He is 6-foot-1, 192 pounds and the son of former NHL forward Michael Nylander, as well as the brother of Toronto forward William Nylander.

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kingpuck
kingpuck
1 month ago

Looks like Geno is officially hitting the FA market. Best of luck to him. Now let’s get younger and grittier.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  kingpuck

Some reports today are that there has been positive movement on a new contract. Sorry to disappoint you. #SignGeno

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  kingpuck

It would probably be more expensive to sign or trade for a #2 center than it would be to just sign Malkin. If you had your way, we may be looking at having Carter as the 2c next season. Do you really think that is a good idea?

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Every year the past 3 Malkin’s been hurt said he was ready and pumped for his comeback then fizzled out getting hurt again. Do we really need this or take that chance again if we sign him?

BocaMarine
BocaMarine
1 month ago

He’s being a petulant child. #DumpMalkin

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  BocaMarine

Getting what you want out of your last NHL contract is petulant?

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