Mar 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) handles the puck as Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (11) pressures during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Coyotes won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Official: Pens' Defenseman Matt Niskanen Will Test Market

The Pittsburgh Penguins will not re-sign defenseman Matt Niskanen before Jul. 1.

According to Niskanen’s agent, Neil Sheehy, the 27-year-old blueliner has reportedly informed Pittsburgh he will make himself available to pickup when free agency commences on Jul. 1.

Pens’ general manager Jim Rutherford stated earlier this week that he didn’t expect to bring Niskanen – as well as Jussi Jokinen – back next season, per Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and it’s now starting to seem that way.

Niskanen is said to be aggressively pursued by the New York Islanders, per Craig Custance and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, and it makes sense, considering the Isles need a frontline defenseman, and they have the cap space to offer a substantial contract.

In 81 regular-season contests last season, Niskanen collected 46 points (10G, 36A) and skated to a phenomenal plus-33 rating. And in 13 playoff games, Niskanen registered nine points (2G, 7A), which was third best on the team.

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

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