Where do the Pittsburgh Penguins go from here?
Hoo boy, this is a biggie.
The Penguins’ list of UFAs this summer is outrageous: future hall-of-famers Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, consistent almost-a-point-a-game guy Bryan Rust, quality rental Rickard Rakell, useful bottom-sixer (and surprising playoff performer) Evan Rodrigues, backup goalie Casey DeSmith and beloved veteran Brian Boyle.
The good news? They have about $29-million in cap space for next season. The bad news? They almost certainly can’t afford to retain all or even most of these guys as well as their two RFAs (Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen).
Moreover, much of this season has kind of felt like the end of something.
It’s impossible to visualize Malkin or Letang playing in a different NHL jersey, but maybe they will. While $29-million is a hell of a lot of cap space, those two future numbers-in-the-rafters guys would combine to eat up a pretty good chunk of it and I’m not sure it makes sense for the Penguins to pay for all that given the general decline we can expect over the next few years.
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