Pittsburgh Penguins Free Agency: Saad Rumors Lingering, Viktor Tikhonov, and More


Reports continue to surface that the Pittsburgh Penguins are interested in Brandon Saad this summer. We all know how rare it is for a restricted free agent to switch hands, unless their rights are traded, and I can’t imagine that Chicago is letting him slip through their fingers.

The other issue is the compensation required if the Pittsburgh Penguins were to submit an offer sheet to Saad. Let’s face it, he’s in for a big pay day, and his salary would determine the compensation Pittsburgh would have to send Chicago. This season’s compensation chart is below.

It’s not out of the question that Saad will command roughly $5.5 million or more, which means that the compensation package would be a first, second, and third-round pick. So, aside from the salary that the Pens would need to shed in order to fit him under the cap, they also aren’t in a position to pay that type of ransom to the Blackhawks.

I still believe that the only RFA that is fair game this summer is Mikkel Boedker, mainly due to his seemingly lack of interest in staying in Arizona. I don’t think he’s attainable with an offer sheet as Arizona will likely match, but a trade is more of a possibility.

Essentially, what I’m saying is…

A name that I find pretty interesting for the Pittsburgh Penguins is Viktor Tikhonov. Tikhonov has been playing in the KHL but is interested in returning to the NHL next season. The Coyotes currently hold his NHL rights but he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. According to reports, he doesn’t plan to stay in Arizona and will test the market this summer.

There has long been a sense that the Pittsburgh Penguins should acquire a Russian winger to play with Evgeni Malkin. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s imperative to have someone from his native country, but he and Tikhonov played well together for Team Russia in the past. It would be wise for Jim Rutherford to at least speak with Tikhonov’s camp and find out what he will cost. Is he the answer for second-line wing? There’s no way to tell just yet. But, it’s worth a conversation for sure.

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Let’s not forget that the Pittsburgh Penguins have some serious decisions to make regarding their own UFA’s and RFA’s. While Rutherford stated that he planned on extending qualifying offers to both Ian Cole and Beau Bennett, there has been no indication that talks are underway with Bennett’s camp. The team has started negotiations with Ian Cole’s agent and I can’t imagine that process will take very long considering both sides believe it’s a great fit.

As far as unrestricted free agents, it sounds like only one or two will be extended offers to return. Blake Comeau is a possibility to return if the price is right, and Steve Downie is another name that has been thrown around. Past those two though, I wouldn’t expect to see many familiar faces from the Pittsburgh Penguins UFA class.

Thanks for reading. Of course, be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep the conversation going at @Michael29Angelo. I’d expect things to start booming in both reality and the rumor mills over the next week or two.

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