The Pittsburgh Penguins backed the truck up and signed star center Evgeni Malkin to a four-year deal late Tuesday night. This column previously included centers to watch on the open market as potential Malkin replacements and other potentially well-paid middle-six wingers capable of scoring a few goals.
After signing Malkin, the Penguins do not have much money leftover to sign free agents. According to PuckPedia..com, the Penguins have about $3.4 million remaining after signing both Malkin and P.O Joseph. The team qualified Kasperi Kapanen on Monday, and if they don’t reach an agreement with him, an arbitrator could decide the salary.
The Penguins’ real-world cap figure goes up to $4.9 million if they demote Filip Hallander and Radim Zohorna to the AHL.
It seems quite likely that Penguins GM Ron Hextall is burning the phones on Wednesday, not chasing free agents but hitting the NHL trade market to unload a salary or two.
The Penguins can afford a pair of bargain veteran forwards until additional moves occur. And that’s about all. Fortunately, the Penguins lineup is primarily set with Malkin in the middle. The team needs a fourth-line player or two. Perhaps a bargain scorer can be found, too.
See also, Heinen, Danton.
A couple of free agents have direct Ron Hextall connections and may be available on two-way deals.