It wasn’t long ago that Matt Niskanen looked like he might be the odd man out in Pittsburgh. Instead, he’s excelled with six points and a league-leading plus-10 rating in seven contests.
There’s still a lot of season left to go, but it’s starting to look like the Penguins might even want to keep him beyond this campaign. His two-year, $4.6 million contract is set to expire this summer, but the 26-year-old defenseman is very interested in staying in Pittsburgh, to the point where he might take less money to do so.
“It obviously depends on a lot of things,” Niskanen said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But I will say that I put a big emphasis on winning. And this is a good place to be for that.”
Niskanen added, “I think there is a lot to be said for staying put in a place that you like and in a place that likes you.”
If he keeps playing anywhere near his current level, the Penguins will likely have at least some interest in retaining him. However, they would have to squeeze him into what’s likely to be a tight budget. The Penguins already have roughly $54.5 million in cap space committed to 13 players next season, according to Cap Geek.
In other words, how much Niskanen is willing to bend to stay in Pittsburgh is likely to dictate whether or not he stays.