Satan hopes to play for Pens

| Thursday, March 12, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Winger Miroslav Satan will report to the AHL, but he hopes to play again this season for the Penguins, his agent said Wednesday.

"The reason Miro is going (to Penguins' AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) is to practice and stay sharp because he's hoping to be brought back to the team at some point in time in the near future," said Allan Walsh, who represents Satan.

"It's not a matter of if. It's more a matter of when."

Penguins general manager Ray Shero announced last night via a news release that Satan will report to the AHL, where he has not played since 1995 — prior to his NHL debut with Edmonton.

Shero could not be reached for comment last night. He has spent all week at the NHL general managers meetings in Naples, Fla. A member of the Penguins media relations staff said Shero was on a plane last night to Columbus, Ohio, where his team plays the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena tonight.

Shero is expected to provide an update today on future plans for Satan, who has been in New York while Shero and Walsh worked out details regarding his immediate hockey future.

Satan, 34, was assigned to the Penguins' AHL affiliate on March 4 — a necessary move, Shero said then, to keep the Penguins from exceeding the NHL's hard $56.7 million salary cap.

According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its players' association, a player's cap number does not count against a team's upper payroll limit if the player is in the AHL.

Satan costs $3.5 million against the cap. Shero said the Penguins lacked cap room to keep Satan after recent acquisitions of wingers Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin and Craig Adams.

Shero also said the Penguins must keep cap space open for the possible return of injured defenseman Philippe Boucher, who had surgery last month on an injured left foot.

Boucher will cost $2.5 million against the cap upon his return. He is currently on the long-term injured reserve list and his salary does not count against the cap, per the CBA.

Counting Boucher, the Penguins are within $2.6 million of the cap, based upon Tribune-Review research.

Two options remain for Satan's return to the Penguins. He could rejoin them through re-entry waivers and play in remaining regular-season games, though Shero would need to clear cap space as Satan's $3.5 million hit would still apply.

A more likely scenario is Satan rejoining the Penguins during the Stanley Cup playoffs. According to the CBA, playoff teams need not adhere to the salary cap — leaving the Penguins with the option of keeping Boucher, expected to be an extra defenseman, and Satan on the NHL roster.

Satan would need to clear re-entry waivers at the end of the regular season to be eligible to play for the Penguins in the postseason.

If Satan was claimed by any team during the re-entry waivers process, he could not play in regular-season or postseason games for that team, according to the CBA. League rosters were set on March 4.

Satan scored 17 goals in 65 games with the Penguins. He was their fourth-leading goal scorer at the time of his AHL assignment.

A veteran of 13 NHL seasons, Satan has scored 354 goals with the Penguins, New York Islanders, Buffalo and Edmonton. His season-best goal total was 40 with the Sabres in 1998-99.

Satan will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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