Evan Rodriguez, the former Pittsburgh Penguins forward, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche last week. Reports suggest that Rodrigues may also have turned down a larger offer at the start of the free agency. But after a summer of GM Ron Hextal’s successes, one, two-part decision still doesn’t count.
Why does Kasperi Kapanen sign a two-year contract with AAV worth $3.2 million that puts the team above the salary cap?
Why did Kapanen sign Rodrigues?
Full praise to Hextall this summer. He managed to achieve the seemingly impossible by signing Brian RustChris Letang, Evgeny Malkin, and Ricard Raquel. Hextall added Jeff Petrie to the blue streak and earned an additional third-round pick in the John Marino trade, which also landed young (and less expensive) defender Ty Smith.
penguins They are a better team today than they were in May. When Brian Burke told teammate Dave Molinari last week, it wasn’t just a bulge.
However, the Kapanen contract does not stand out for its value, because Kapanen probably got the full market price, if not more, not for its necessity. The penguins didn’t get much from the Cabanen last season.
The Kapanen deal stands alone in a racy summer because the contract pushed the Penguins’ cap number to red. Officially, they are about $1.4 million over the NHL salary cap. Late in training camp, they’ll send a pair of eligible players to the WBS Penguins or put in players who haven’t made the big team through concessions. These motions will get the penguins right under cover but won’t provide enough room to make calls in case they get some injury or disease.
Hey, COVID is still around and can remove a player for five days. Two National Hockey Now writers got it last week, and it wasn’t much fun for them. If a few players get the error, the penguins may be shorted because they lack the cover space to replace in some games.
Last season, the New York Islanders’ season saw a severe deterioration because they were short-shelled.
There are competing accounts about Rodriguez. The first involves doubt. Rodriguez had not previously scored nearly 19 goals. It was a coincidence. He caught a cold in the second half of the season. It was a coincidence, and it fell back to average. The Penguins did not win a playoff series. Did not matter.
The other narrative, which is more based on reality, is that Rodriguez was a standout figure when the Penguin needed him to be. He scored 19 goals, mostly in the first half of the season, when the Penguins were without them Sidney Crosby Ovgeny two owners, or only two owners. Rodriguez emerged after many seasons of nachos box press and being a bubbly player, unsure of his place in the Buffalo Sabers or Pittsburgh Penguins squad.
As the playoffs approached, Rodriguez raised his level of play once again. He was also one of the Penguins’ best attackers in the first round of the playoff series against the New York Rangers. He scored three goals and five points in the seven-game series.
Pittsburgh penguins a thorn in the road
If the reports are accurate, and Rodriguez declined three years and $10.5 million on the advice of his agent, it’s a mistake by Rodriguez.
But the penguins eventually paid Cabanane about the same amount. This is the fault of the penguins.
After five seasons in the NHL, Kapanen has been on a rollercoaster. It’s true he’s had a better career than Rodriguez up until this point, but it was hard to watch how each of them fit in with the Penguins last season and conclude that Cabanen was the player to keep.
Target totals only tell a little of the story. Rodriguez played every progressive position and filled nearly every role last season. He did everything from the wing line to the fourth midfield.
Cabanen hasn’t broken the 40-point plateau in three NHL seasons (in fairness, he’s been on a fast track into the 2020-21 COVID season). The Toronto Maple Leafs eventually demoted him to a fourth line job before the penguins trade.
Inconsistency has been a chronic problem for Cabanen, who has the talent to be a major force forward. However, after seven years since his first appearance in the National Hockey League, this situation is perhaps more hopeful than expectations.
You, the reader and the fans, have the complete authority to agree with me today, but Lee tweeted in March after Kapanen scored 30 goals, “Not that age was good.”
But in a summer of near perfection, of smart cost moves and player acquisition (at least in the short term. We’ll see about the long contracts in four years), going over the cap with Kapanen at the expense of Rodrigues is one decision I don’t understand.
If the Penguins need the help of the top six in the middle or on the left this season, I think the E-Rod legend will grow. He’ll also have a healthy Stanley Cup chance with the Colorado Avalanche, cementing that pathos.