The Pittsburgh Penguins potentially cleared $2.3 million of salary-cap space at noon on Sunday when defenseman Juuso Riikola and fourth-line forward Colton Sceviour cleared waivers. The NHL trade deadline is on Monday, and the Penguins can use that money to acquire additional help at the 2021 NHL trade deadline.
The Penguins placed both on waivers on Saturday. Since no team claimed either, the Penguins may assign them to the taxi squad or the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The players may also remain on the NHL roster, though their salary would count against the salary cap if they remain with the big club. Both are still listed on the club roster but can be moved without additional waivers.
According to capfriendly.com, the Penguins have $1.144 million of cap space and are using 48 of the maximum 50 contracts. However, the cap space grows if either Riikola or Sceviour are assigned to the taxi squad or the WBS Penguins.
At the 2021 NHL trade deadline, players count for about 50% of their salary against the trade deadline.
Riikola, 27, has played 75 games in his three-year NHL career and has scored 12 points (3g, 9a). The Finnish defenseman who played six seasons in the Finnish SM-liiga signed as a free agent before the 2018-19 season.
The left-handed Riikoal generally factors as the Penguins’ seventh or eighth defenseman. He is in the first year of a two-year, $2.3 million deal. The Penguins retained the full salary when no other team laid claims to the players.
This season, Riikola played two games without registering a point.
Seviour has been a part-time regular in the Penguins lineup. He has six points (3g, 3a) in 31 games this season. However, he has often been a healthy scratch, too.
Sceviour is in the final year of a contract that pays him $1.25 million. He scored his third goal of the season on Thursday night against the New York Rangers. The Pittsburgh Penguins acquired Sceviour with defenseman Mike Matheson for Patric Hornqvist in October.