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Rakell Poised to Cash In On Free Agency … But Where?

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Rickard Rakell

Rickard Rakell has only been a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a couple of months.

He probably thinks a Pittsburgh Left refers to the wing where Mike Sullivan deployed him on occasion.

But even though he appeared in just 19 regular-season games and two others during the playoffs after being acquired from Anaheim at the March 21 trade deadline, Rakell insists that he’d like to hang around a while longer, even though he’s on the cusp of unrestricted free agency.

“This is definitely a place I would like to come back to,” he said. “And where I think I can take my game to the next level, as well.”

That the Pittsburgh Penguins — who sent Zach Aston-Reese, Dominik Simon, goaltending prospect Calle Clang and a second-round draft choice to the Ducks in exchange for Rakell and Anaheim retaining 35 percent of his salary-cap hit — would like to retain him is indisputable; whether they will have the cap space required to make it happen is far from certain.

Rakell, 29, has been working on a six-year, $22.8 million contract that has an annual average value of $3,789,444.

Ron Hextall acknowledged Monday that building his roster for the 2022-23 season will be complicated and involve numerous moving parts and changing scenarios, and made it clear that trying to re-sign Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will be his primary focus.

That doesn’t preclude reaching contract agreements with other players — witness the deal Bryan Rust accepted Saturday — but Hextall likely will be reluctant to commit too much money to them if he believes those resources might be required to land Malkin and/or Letang.

“I know this organization has a lot of free agents to take care of,” Rakell said. “I’m just going to see what happens.”

Rickard Rakell Performed

Rakell put up four goals and nine assists in those 19 games after joining the Penguins, working on both wings and primarily on the top two lines. Although he has a solid offensive pedigree, he averaged just 95 seconds of power-play time, nearly all of it with the No. 2 unit.

He had 16 goals and 12 assists in 51 games with Anaheim before being traded and called his time with the Penguins “a great experience for me. I think I’ve learned a lot from a lot of great players and coaches here.”

Rakell did not get a point during the playoffs, when he appeared in just two games. He got an unspecified head injury on a hit by New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren late in the first period of Game 1 — Lindgren was assessed a roughing minor — and did not get back in the lineup until the series finale.

All told, he logged just 18 minutes, 52 seconds of ice time against the Rangers.

Being without Sidney Crosby for part of Game 5 and all of Game 6 and not having Tristan Jarry until Game 7 clearly contributed to the Pittsburgh Penguins failing to get past New York, but the series was close enough — ultimately, New York needed an overtime goal in Game 7 to advance — that Rakell could have tilted it in the Penguins’ favor if he hadn’t been injured.

“Everyone battled hard in every game.” he said. “It felt like it could have gone either way.”

Which, at least for now, also seems to be the case for whether the two sides can find a way to bring him back to the Penguins for next season.

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Katz is Dumb
Katz is Dumb
1 month ago

Hextall needs to lock him up. 4 years in the neighborhood of $18 mil seams reasonable.

Wasnt
1 month ago
Reply to  Katz is Dumb

Definitely, he blends really well with the Pens.
Wonder if everyone (the Fans) would prefer him over Geno if had to pick one

Jackmccrory
Jackmccrory
1 month ago
Reply to  Wasnt

Yes

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Jackmccrory

Jack, these yinzers would destroy teams. We even have so called Sports Journalists that promote destroying this team. Hexy also has to try to keep these yinzers somewhat happy. Remember these yinzers had THEIR SOURCES The New Ownership had problems with him. He was reading that.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Katz is Dumb

Katz, he’s to young. He’s only 29. They have to save also for Joe Thornton.

Wasnt
1 month ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

Love the sarcasm…..but your probably right and don’t leave out Chara

Katz is Dumb
Katz is Dumb
1 month ago
Reply to  Wasnt

The sad truth is that you could replace Dumo or Pettersson with Chara and no one would notice, plus the team would be better off with the $3 + million in cap savings.

Jack McCrory
Jack McCrory
1 month ago
Reply to  Wasnt

And Subban

Jackmccrory
Jackmccrory
1 month ago

I certainly hope that Sullivan doesn’t make the same mistakes as the Steelers made in signing Roethlisberger for too long too late in his career. Consider keeping one of the two on a two-year contract and no longer

Ujn Hunter
1 month ago
Reply to  Jackmccrory

Sullivan is the Head Coach, he doesn’t have anything to do with signing players.

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Jackmccrory

Jack, Sullivan don’t have that power anymore thank God! Once Morehouse was gone, Burke and Hextall now got power. Sullivan hasn’t won a series for how long with these guys? Hexy’s comment, ” In a perfect world” plus Crosby, Guentzel and Rakell had cheap shots on them to change series?

Irish Hammer
Irish Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

Jack, those comments from a guy who don’t like talking to media. He admitted cheap shots on his star players occurred and in a ” in a perfect world Malkin Letang could retire Pens” Read Mark Madden’s comments from Trib about some interesting stats on those two! Great article.

Jack McCrory
Jack McCrory
1 month ago
Reply to  Irish Hammer

My mistake. I meant Hextall

Dave Heyl
Dave Heyl
1 month ago

Does anyone believe Malkin would be motivated to play any type of hard nose hockey being paid $5 M vs the $9.5 M this year. Also if either Letang or Malkin do sign there cannot be a no trade clause.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

Agree with regards to the motivation. Sometimes I wonder if players think… Well, I’ve got my (1, 2, 3, however many) Cups so I’m good.

As far as the NTCs, if they weren’t a part of the offer it’d probably be a deal breaker for the player.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Rakell + Rust > Kapanen + Malkin #Simple

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Katz is Dumb
Katz is Dumb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

You must have been terrible with the shape sorting toy as a child. Neither Rakell or Rust is a center…#SquarePegRoundHole

Last edited 1 month ago by SD Pens Fan
Craig
Craig
30 days ago
Reply to  Katz is Dumb

Neither is Malkin. He plays there, but he is not a center. Let Malkin go, the team played a better overall game without him this year. Keep Rakell, Rust and go get Trocheck.

Last edited 30 days ago by Craig
Jeff Young
Jeff Young
1 month ago

I hope we can sign him (Rakell). Too bad about the $5.5 hit for Zucker.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Young

Can they buy him out or take a 4th or 5th draft pick for him? Since Johnson loved him so much take him back.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

According to CapFriendly’s buyout calculator, a buyout would reduce his AAV in the first year (of two years) to just over $2M and the second year to $1.7M. Recall that we still have Jack Johnson on the books for the next few years as well. Sigh. Possible but probably unlikely.

As for trade, Zucker has a M-NTC which allows him a 10-team no trade list… And, likely, the teams who would take the salary are those he’d probably put on that list. So, also likely a no go.

Bob
Bob
30 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Young

Can’t they buy him out?

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[…] Forward Rickard Rakell is another Pittsburgh Penguins player heading into free […]

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[…] Forward Rickard Rakell is another Pittsburgh Penguins player heading into free […]

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[…] Will Rickard Rakell sign back with the Pittsburgh Penguins or test unrestricted free […]

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[…]  Rakell Poised to Cash in on Free Agency, But Where? […]

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[…] York defenseman Ryan Lindgren knocked Rickard Rakell out of the opener and the five games that followed, while Jacob Trouba drove an elbow into Sidney […]

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

Like to see Matt Dumba come here, You know, a defenseman who likes to get physical unlike ours which we need.Minnesota needs cap space and may be able to retain some of his salary.Or maybe Manson who’s a huge specimen. Or both. Trade Marino and Peterson. Just a thought.

Bob
Bob
1 month ago

Hope Rakell can stay. Sure he could if they don’t sign Malkin and bring someone in who can play a full season.

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[…] New York defender Ryan Lindgren Ricard Raquel From the opening game and the five games that followed, while Jacob Tropa drove his elbow into […]

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[…] — Is Rickard Rakell returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins? […]

Bachinga
Bachinga
1 month ago

He’s going to be offered stupid money somewhere else…

Bob
Bob
30 days ago

Did you hear those announcers during game seven kinda dogging Rakell and saying they should put Rodrigues on the ice more a
than Rakell since he was hot?

Bob
Bob
30 days ago

Maybe Reese will come back to Pittsburgh cause he comes cheap! At least we’ll have someone who isn’t afraid to get physical.

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[…] Will Rickard Rakell sign back with the Pittsburgh Penguins or test unrestricted free […]

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[…] be in their plans after Bryan Rust re-signed for six years, $30.75 million, a $5.125 million AAV. Rakell acknowledged the number of players that need to be signed this offseason, “I know this organization has a lot […]

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[…] be in their plans after Bryan Rust re-signed for six years, $30.75 million, a $5.125 million AAV. Rakell acknowledged the number of players that need to be signed this offseason, “I know this organization has a lot […]

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[…] when penguins hope to keep the likes of Evgeny Malkin, Chris Letang, and Ricard Raquelamong other […]

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[…] when the Penguins are hoping to retain the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Rickard Rakell, among […]

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[…] colleague Dave Molinari did a Rickard Rakell salary breakdown and possibilities. I like it at $4.0-$4.5 million with term, but a rival GM could […]

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