Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Deal for Pettersson Next for GM Some Salary-Cap Room Must Be Freed Up First

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Deal for Pettersson Next for GM Some Salary-Cap Room Must Be Freed Up First

Article excerpt

In the aftermath of the Penguins disappointing first-round playoff exit, coach Mike Sullivan made his intentions for the offseason clear - get younger, get faster, get tougher to play against.

In the months since, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has done just that.

Aging star Phil Kessel, who will turn 32 in October, was shipped to the Arizona Coyotes for 25-year-old forward Alex Galchenyuk and defensive prospect Pierre-Olivier Joseph. The Penguins got younger.

Stay-at-home defenseman Olli Maatta, who was arguably the Penguins' slowest skater, was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Dominik Kahun, a player whose speed is one of his best attributes. The Penguins got faster.

And the Penguins signed a six-year deal with Brandon Tanev, a defensively responsible winger and penalty-killing specialist who was third in the NHL with 278 hits and third among forwards with 81 blocked shots. The Penguins got tougher to play against.

Add in Matt Cullen's retirement, a contract extension for Sullivan and a couple of deals for restricted free agents, and it's been a busy offseason for Rutherford and company.

But it's not over yet.

There are two more key matters of business to address: Make a trade to clear cap space and sign defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a multiyear deal. In all likelihood, the moves will be made in that order - but not necessarily.

The Penguins extended a one-year qualifying offer to Pettersson after the season in order to retain negotiating rights. This offer gives the Penguins the opportunity to match any offer sheet that might be submitted by another team, or they receive draft pick compensation. Opposing teams, however, almost never submit offer sheets in an attempt to poach players, so that's of little concern.

Pettersson could sign the one-year qualifying offer and play out this season. But both sides seem to favor a multiyear deal. …

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