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Marcus Pettersson Re-Signs With Penguins, Justin Schultz to be Moved?

The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson on a new five-year deal. Does that means Justin Schultz might be a trade candidate before the deadline?

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Tuesday, they have locked up one of their young defensemen, signing Marcus Pettersson to a five-year extension worth just over $20 million. The deal will carry an average annual value of $4,025,175 and keep Pettersson with the Penguins until the 2024-25 season.

The deal also includes a modified no-trade clause which GM Jim Rutherford felt comfortable giving based on how well Pettersson has impacted the Penguins blue line corps.

Rutherford, who is also in the news on Tuesday because he’s said he’s looking to add a top-six forward by the trade deadline should Jake Guentzel not be able to return, explained why he made the deal:

In just over a year, Marcus has had a significant impact on our defensive group. He is young, reliable and smart, which is important in today’s game. Marcus is part of our young core and it was important to get him signed long-term.

Marcus Pettersson signs with Penguins
Marcus Pettersson signs with Penguins

Pettersson was acquired by the Penguins when they moved Daniel Sprong last season and since that time has really elevated his play becoming an important piece for the Pens. Just 23, Pettersson is playing 20 minutes per night regularly and has been a good partner with rookie John Marino this season. This new contract pretty much seals the deal that he’ll be a big minute-muncher for the team moving forward.

Related: [Trade Rumor] Oilers Have Called Kings and Devils About Significant Forwards

What About Justin Schultz?

What might turn out to be an interesting development is what Pettersson’s contract will now mean for defenseman Justin Schultz? He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and there have been whispers of a willingness to move Schultz in the right deal. If the Penguins have four long-term contracts on their blue line, perhaps this increases the odds of Schultz being dealt.

Perhaps the Penguins look to extend Schultz but that means complications with the rest of their cap as they have a number of players coming up for extensions as restricted free agents. Jared McCann, Dominik Simon, Dominik Kahun, Matt Murray, Tristan Jarry and Juuso Riikola are all likely to receive raises should they stay and that, again, spells trouble for Schultz who could simply walk away at the end of the year if he’s not offered the type of deal he’d like.

Related: Josh Anderson Getting Attention Thanks to Contract Situation

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