Justin’s reward: Penguins sign Schultz for three years, $16.5M

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Justin Schultz‘s agent said he wanted to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins but (ominous music) he wanted to be rewarded.

Pessimists looked at that line of thought as talk of taking the bigger deal over the better chance at winning, yet they turned out to be wrong. Schultz is indeed back via a three-year, $16.5 million deal.

That’s $5.5 million per season, terms that the team officially disclosed.

“Justin plays a very important role for our team,” Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said. “It’s very good to know that he will be returning to us for the next three years.”

The Penguins found the perfect – sometimes sheltered – role in acquiring Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers during the 2015-16 trade deadline. He responded by giving them helpful offense, helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Schultz turns 27 on July 6, so the three years seem pretty fair for the Penguins, who’ve allowed veterans to leave this summer, especially in veterans Ron Hainsey and Trevor Daley.

Cap Friendly pegs Pittsburgh’s current cap space at $11.05 million, with Conor Sheary and Brian Dumoulin standing as the most significant free agents (both being RFAs).

They also added Matt Hunwick and Antti Niemi while losing Nick Bonino on this busy day (check the free agency tracker here). Keeping Schultz limits some of the bleeding for a team aiming for a “threepeat.”