The Pittsburgh Penguins still have a little more work to do this offseason before the team’s new GM, Jim Rutherford, can turn to training camp in August. One of the biggest pieces of work left? Signing restricted free agent center Brandon Sutter to a new contract.
After news emerged that the two camps stood separated by demands of term, it appears Rutherford is still confident they will soon have Sutter under contract and ready for camp.
“The best way to characterize the process is it’s moving in the right direction,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I would suspect by next week we might be able to get something done.”
With only about $4.2 million in cap space and Sutter likely due a raise from his $2.67 million salary last season, this has been a tricky contract for the team to negotiate.
The Penguins won’t want to let Sutter go for nothing in a year when he’s an unrestricted free agent, but they also likely can’t afford to offer Sutter a longer contract that bears a heftier cap number in order to keep Sutter in town for some of his prime-aged UFA years in which he can pursue bigger money on the open market.
None of that seems to affect Rutherford, who remains confident in his ability to retain Brandon Sutter.
For this year, that should be no trouble. Depending on the contract though, Sutter and the Penguins could be back in this boat sooner rather than later.