Hours after negotiations with Evgeni Malkin broke down, the Pittsburgh Penguins reached a long-term contract agreement with another top-six forward.
Rickard Rakell, acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline, agreed to a six-year deal that carries a salary-cap hit of $5 million.
He was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, and would have been free to sign with another team without the Penguins having the right to match the offer or receive compensation.
The new contract gives Rakell a raise from the $3,789,444 he was making on the one that is about to expire.
The Penguins parted with four assets — forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, goaltending prospect Calle Clang and a second-round draft choice — at the trade deadline to acquire Rakell from the Ducks, who had made him a first-round draft choice in 2011.
Rakell, 29, was quite productive after joining the Penguins, recording four goals and nine assists in 19 games. He was injured on a high hit late in the first period of Game 1 in their opening-round playoff series against the New York Rangers and logged a total of just 18 minutes, 52 seconds in the series.
Rakell’s deal leaves the Pittsburgh Penguins with about $10.3 million in salary-cap space to fill out their roster for 2022-23. Assuming they don’t retain Evgeni Malkin, most of that money figures to go toward signing a second-line center.
Malkin, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues are the most prominent Penguins players who are poised to enter unrestricted free agency, while restricted free agent Kasperi Kapanen also needs a contract.