Penguins Upcoming Free Agent Rodrigues Sign ’em or Trade ’em

Pittsburgh Penguins(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have some tough decisions to make. We all know the March 21.2022 NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and that means upcoming Free Agents are officially on the Trading Block.  Or are they?

Guess who is an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of 2021-2022…Yup…#9.

Would you sign him right now, to a Long-Term Deal?  To a Term Deal?  Or Trade Him?

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Let’s look at Evan Rodrigues #9 Center, as of March 09.2022 and discuss what to do.

A 2015 Draft Pick of the Buffalo Sabers.  Acquired by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019-2020.  Rodrigues has played 3 years with Pittsburgh.

#9 has played some good hockey during his time with the Penguins, especially early this season, when the Pens were ravaged with injuries and Covid-19.

He has been used in a variety of situations; playing on the Power Play, some Penalty Killing, creating havoc in general, defending, playing all forward positions or scoring goals, just to name a few.  He is the Swiss Army Knife on this Penguins Roster.

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Rodrigues #9 – By the Numbers as of March 09.2022

5th in Team Scoring with 35 Points. (16 Goals – 19 Assists = 35 Points)

4th on the team with 16 Goals.

5th on the team with 19 Assists.

Rodrigues is a streaky goal scorer as well as a streaky point producer.  The fact is, given the chance, he can produce points.  This year has turned out to be his Career year.

Rodrigues Most Points in a season 35 – 2020-2021

Rodrigues Most Goals in a season 16 – 2020-2021

Rodrigues Most Assists in a season 35 – 2020-2021

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Game Play

The Right-Handed shooting Rodrigues is a hard-working, fast skating, not afraid to shoot from anywhere, type of hockey player.  Every Stanley Cup contender needs or has a few of these players.

As mentioned, Rodrigues is a streaky type of player, who scores in bunches.  He can get hot for a few games in a row, before cooling off (see early this season compared to February and March 2022).

The Most Goals Evan Rodrigues has scored in one season has been 9, and the Most Points he has scored in one season was 29, (with Buffalo during the 2018-2019 season).  #9 is well on his way to having a career year, in Goals, Assists and Points scored.

Given the chance and playing time, #9 was the Penguins offense, when Malkin and Crosby were out early in the season.  Now with everyone back and healthy, Rodrigues is trying to regain his mojo.  Let’s hope he starts heating up in April 2022.

Rodrigues is in the final year of his contract, making $1,000,000.

I would suspect Rodrigues is open to testing Free Agency this summer.  Unless, the Penguins make him a nice offer he simply can’t refuse.

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Comparables as of March 09.2022

Toffoli – Clg – Age 29 – 36 Points $4.250 Million Per Season

Kempe -LA – Age 25 – 36 Points $2.0 Million Per Season

Bennett –Fla – Age 25 – 36 Points $4.425 Million Per Season

O’Rielly – STL – Age 31 – 35 Points $7.5 Million Per Season

Rodrigues – Pitts – Age 28 – 35 Points $1.0 Million Per Season

Pittsburgh Penguins as of March 09.2022

34-15-9 = 77 Points

2nd -Tied in the Metropolitan Division (Up from 7th Place in Oct)

5th Tied-in the Eastern conference (Up from 13th Place in Oct)

6th Tied-in the NHL overall (Up from 22nd overall in Oct)

Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the #3 Playoff Spot, in the Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference).

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My View from the Cheap Seats

Rodrigues #9 has been a good Penguin to date. The reality is, Rodrigues is a streaky scorer.  Teams have a tough time ponying up big bucks for streaky, (which really means, inconsistent) hockey players.

In 2018-2019 Rodrigues played in 74 games.  Since then, he has played in 38, 7, 35 and 57 games so far this year.  Again, this year is his career year.

Rodrigues will get some interest as a Free Agent, if this is the route he wants to take.  I’m not sure there is a huge payday out there for him, unless he really picks up his scoring, especially in the upcoming playoffs.

Trading Rodrigues is an option, however if he is a key piece in this years run, then why trade him and disrupt the Team chemistry.  (However, I would like to know what teams are willing to give up to get #9 though.)

The Penguins are a good, solid team right now, and are ready to make a run for the Stanley Cup this year. They returned from the Abyss earlier in the season, worked out the kinks are battle-tested ready for the playoffs.  Rodrigues #9 is a key piece in this run for the cup.

As the Penguins near closer to the March 21.2022 NHL trade Deadline, they are looking to win now as well as Win in the future.  I see this playing out in 3 ways.

1.Signing Rodrigues to a Large Long-Term Contract, would be a very bad idea.  The sample size is simply too small to open the brinks truck at this time.  Now, should he score a bunch in May and dominate in the run this spring, well now, let’s talk facts n figures.

2.Signing Rodrigues to a Bridge Deal, say a 2-year term at $2 Million per season, sounds logical to me.

3.Play out this season.  Win the Cup.  And maybe part ways if Rodrigues wants to get rich elsewhere.

In my humble opinion, Rodrigues is a valuable Penguin, and I would love to keep him for the right price and the right term.  I feel it’s a Bridge Deal or Play out the season.

As you know, in todays Cap Era, a bad long-term contract can hand-cuff a franchise.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the Penguins still have these Upcoming Free Agents to consider Signing or Trading…

The A-List

Letang #58 – Defense

Malkin #71 – Forward

Rust #17 – Forward

Kapanen #42 – Forward

The B-List

…is for another time

Quote of the Day

“You Always have the Power of Choice.  However, each Choice Always comes with Consequences.”