Penguins expected to re-sign Rickard Rakell to six-year deal
As The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports, the Pittsburgh Penguins appear to be keeping their trade deadline acquisition around a while longer, re-signing forward Rickard Rakell. Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette adds that the contract is expected to be for six years at $5M per season. Pittsburgh had acquired Rakell at the trade deadline from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick, forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, and goaltender Calle Clang.
Rakell’s extension at this rate is an interesting one, the winger having recorded as many as 34 goals and 69 points in 77 games in 2017-18, but has not come close to either of those marks since. This season, Rakell scored 20 goals to go along with 21 assists in 70 games, four goals and 13 points of which came as a member of the Penguins in 19 games after the trade. Dealing with injury, Rakell played in just two of Pittsburgh’s seven postseason games. If the forward can get back to the player he was from 2016-2018 and be a reliable 30 goal scorer, then the contract should pose great value for the Penguins.
After carrying a $3.79M cap hit, the extension brings Rakell up to $5M, leaving Pittsburgh with just over $10.3M in available salary cap space, without factoring in a new contract for RFA forward Kasperi Kapanen. The deal does not necessarily foreclose the possibility for re-signing superstar Evgeni Malkin, however the earlier news that Malkin would test free agency does put his future in the steel city squarely in doubt. Still, without Malkin, the remaining space would allow the team to pursue an extension with Evan Rodrigues, who is also slated to hit the open market on Wednesday afternoon and potentially even pursue a few extra additions to round out the roster.