How much could it cost the Bruins to re-sign Jake DeBrusk? Could Jake Guentzel get $10 million annually from the Penguins? Can the Pens bring in Tomas Tatar on a tryout basis? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DEBRUSK HOPES TO REMAIN WITH THE BRUINS
NHL.COM: Derek Van Diest reports Jake DeBrusk isn’t looking toward testing next summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. The 26-year-old winger hopes to sign a new contract with the Boston Bruins.
Entering his seventh season with the Bruins, DeBrusk is in the final season of a two-year, $8 million contract with an average annual value of $4 million. He tied a career-best in goals last season with 27 and had a career-best 50 points but those stats would’ve been higher had he not been sidelined for 18 games.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy observed that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will have around $28.5 million in salary-cap space for 2024-25 thanks in part to the projected rise of the salary cap by $4 million.
Part of that cap room could be taken up with shoring up his top-two center depth if Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle don’t pan out in those roles this season. Murphy believes DeBrusk could seek a deal similar to the eight-year, $52 million contract ($6.5 million AAV) recently signed by Brandon Hagel with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also have just 11 active roster players under contract for 2024-25. If they have to find suitable top-two centers it might not leave enough to re-sign DeBrusk and fill out the rest of the roster.
LATEST PENGUINS CONTRACT SPECULATION
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Punturi recently pondered how much it could cost the Pittsburgh Penguins to re-sign Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old left winger has been their top goal scorer over the past five seasons.
Slated to become a UFA next July, Guentzel will be due for a healthy raise after earning a team-friendly $6 million annually on his current contract. While he could easily justify seeking an AAV of $10 million, Punturi doubted he’ll get more from the Penguins than the $8.7 million AAV currently earned by team captain Sidney Crosby.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are in “win-now” mode trying to win one more championship with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Ultimately, I think they’ll pay up to keep Guentzel in the fold.
Penguins GM Kyle Dubas could hold the line for Guentzel at between $8 million and $8.5 million. However, I don’t think Crosby’s AAV will be that much of a barrier.
Unless Guentzel is willing to accept as much or slightly less than Crosby, he could get between $9 million and $10 million from the Penguins. And I don’t think the Penguins captain would have an issue with that. After all, Malkin’s last contract had a higher AAV ($9.5 million) and that wasn’t a problem for Crosby.
Punturi’s colleague Nicholas Brlansky believes the Penguins still have a shot at signing Tomas Tatar. With some free agents starting to sign professional tryout option (PTO) contracts, Tatar is starting to run out of time to find a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar could have a couple of contract offers on the table. One of them could be with the Penguins.
The 32-year-old winger could be waiting to see if he gets any better proposals before training camp. If he doesn’t, he could end up accepting the best existing offer.
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