The Penguins are continuing to make sure their house is in order ahead of the July 1 frenzy.
Pittsburgh announced they’ve re-signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a two-year, $4.6 million deal, good for a cap hit of $2.3 million per season.
Niskanen finished this past season with 21 points working as a third-pair defenseman for the team. Niskanen also had three points in the playoffs for the Pens in their opening round loss to Philly. Niskanen was part of the deal with Dallas that also brought James Neal to the Penguins and it’s safe to say that’s working out well for Pittsburgh.
Now Niskanen has the opportunity to grab a top-four defensive spot with the team with Zbynek Michalek sent to Phoenix, but with the Pens also in pursuit of Ryan Suter his third pairing spot should be secure. According to CapGeek.com, the Penguins now have $12.2 million in cap space to spend like drunken sailors tomorrow.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.