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Penguins Could Be Going After Erik Haula in NHL Free Agency

Sources are suggesting the Pittsburgh Penguins might not be done trying to add in free agency and have their eyes on Erik Haula.

Despite already having too many roster players, the Pittsburgh Penguins may not be done adding to their team, according to Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now. Kingerski is citing league sources that suggest the Penguins might have their eyes on Erik Haula in NHL free agency.

Related: NHL Free Agency Feature: 2020 Division Review – Metropolitan

Saying it will not be easy for the Penguins to fit him into their roster or salary cap structure as is currently constructed, he’s noting it can be done and saying multiple sources have confirmed the Penguins have interest.

He adds that other sources are debating whether or not the Penguins are done, some saying Haula is one of the few quality remaining free agents remaining. Speculation is also that Haula has, thus far, rejected below-value offers but the Penguins might be prepared to offer a more lucrative deal if they could make the salary situation work. Kingerski writes, “One source with knowledge of Haula’s free-agent talks circled the Penguins as ‘one of five or six teams’ where Haula would fit.”

Erik Haula NHL Free agency
Erik Haula NHL Free agency

How the Penguins Might Make It Work

The belief is that the Penguins would be looking to trade salary to really get into the conversation when it comes to Haula. He made $2.75 million and might be enticed to take a close-to equal or a slightly-higher rate if the term is there. Kingerski suggests a three-year, $9 million deal is in the ballpark of fair. That means — with the $1.3 million before Aston-Reese is placed on LTIR, ($2.3 million once done) — the Penguins need to clear up around $700k – $1 million.

The Penguins might be prepared to go over the cap ceiling for the time being and from there, they could put Aston-Reese on LTIR and move a player like Colton Sceviour to the AHL. That would give the Penguins over $3.3 million to begin the season. The team might even consider trading Sceviour and adding a sweetener.

Then, to give GM Jim Rutherford wiggle room to make moves during the season, the Pens might consider moving seventh defenseman Juuso Riikola, who is a luxury at $1.15 million this season.

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