Pittsburgh Penguins restricted free agent defenseman Marcus Pettersson has his visa in hand. There will not be any travel restrictions or delays for Pettersson to attend the Penguins training camp which begins Friday. There is however another impediment to Pettersson being in camp on time.
A new contract.
Pettersson is one of nearly two dozen RFAs around the NHL without a contract as NHL training camps begin. The high profile players from Mitch Marner and Zach Werenski are waiting and wondering just as players who will command far less money, like Pettersson.
However, an NHL source confirmed to PHN Saturday there is optimism for a deal in the next 3-4 days. Hopefully. By obtaining his visa, Pettersson is certainly ready to sign a contract and get into camp.
But where the Penguins will find the money for the 23-year-old defenseman who helped to raise the Penguins blue line with pillowy soft outlet passes which sprung forwards and defense partners alike, is a question yet unanswered.
Welcome to the last gasp of the unanswered-questions offseason. However, it should be noted this is the first time sources close to the situation have expressed a specific time frame. The situation has evolved from “soon,” to days and that should raise expectations we could finally see the conclusion to the burning question which has dominated the Penguins’ summer.
Last season, the Penguins acquired Pettersson from Anaheim for fading prospect Daniel Sprong. When Pettersson arrived in early December, the Penguins defensive corps was a nightly Yahtzee cup of pairings. Pettersson was struggling to get ice time in Anaheim but took the left side to Jack Johnson in Pittsburgh. Things clicked, and both players elevated their game. Later in the season, Pettersson formed an unlikely pairing with big defenseman Erik Gudbranson. They too were successful, and Gudbranson quickly erased a torrent of negative comments from his previous fanbase in Vancouver.
In 57 games with the Penguins, Pettersson scored 19 points (2g, 17a), which coincidentally was the same number of points Sprong, a winger, scored for Anaheim. Pettersson was also a +13.
The Penguins training camp opens Friday and Pettersson is the last unsigned player. Fellow RFAs Teddy Blueger ($750,000) and Zach Aston-Reese ($1 million)signed two-year deals at slightly bargain rates.