It wasn’t the fish Pittsburgh Penguins fans were hoping to catch. With big names on the market like Mike Hoffman or Alex Pietrangelo, the Penguins needs were much smaller. And so is the Penguins budget.
Within the opening two hours of the NHL free-agent frenzy, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Evan Rodrigues. The terms of the deal are team-friendly. After making $2 million last season, Rodrigues signed a one-year deal for the league minimum, $700,000 per James Mirtle of the Athletic who was the first two to report it.
Or, should that read, the Penguins re-signed Rodrigues? The zippy forward finished the season with the Penguins after GM Jim Rutherford acquired him with winger Conor Sheary from the Buffalo Sabres at the NHL trade deadline for winger Dominik Kahun.
Rodrigues, 27, played seven games with the Penguins and was a healthy scratch in the NHL postseason. He scored one goal in his time with the Penguins, and nine points (5g, 4a) in 38 games with Buffalo.
The formerly undrafted free agent from Boston University, who played on a line with Jack Eichel in college, has played in 199 NHL games with 27 goals and 45 assists. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward can play all three positions, is speedy and tenacious, if not a little bit light.
For the Penguins, he was a healthy scratch in the regular season against the Washington Capitals as head coach Mike Sullivan wanted a heavier body, but returned the following game with a chip on his shoulder.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had about $3.97 million after signing Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract on Thursday evening. Now, the Penguins are down to about $3.2 million, with about $2.5 million in spending capital, when keeping an emergency recall fund is factored.
The Penguins have not yet addressed their blue line or depth goaltending. Follow the Live Free Agency Tracker on PHN.