Depth was one of the biggest knocks on the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Penguins, so it’s no surprise that’s been a focus during this offseason (maybe even to the detriment of their higher-end). Such a change of pace might help to explain why they’re taking some time to reach a deal with Brandon Sutter.
“The best way to characterize the process is it’s moving in the right direction,” Rutherford said. “I would suspect by next week we might be able to get something done.”
Sutter, 25, received a $2.7 million salary and generated a $2.067 million cap hit in his most recent season. In a way, the more relevant contract might be someone else’s; Marcel Goc can play a very comparable role and he carries a team-friendly $1.2 million cap hit.
Obviously, Sutter is five years younger, yet that also makes him an RFA. Term is actually where things get interesting; back in July, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Sutter wants a one-year deal so he can hit the market as a UFA next summer while Rutherford would prefer a longer one.
Will it be a bridge deal that compromises a year or two of UFA status for Sutter? Might he take less for the chance at a bigger pay day later? The Penguins currently have about $4.23 million in cap space and would likely want to retain some wiggle room during the season, so it could be an interesting situation to watch.
It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.