Pittsburgh Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese was the only one of the team’s four remaining restricted free agents to file for salary arbitration by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Forwards Teddy Blueger and Adam Johnson elected not to file. Defenseman Marcus Pettersson did not have enough service time to earn the right to arbitration.
Aston-Reese, 24, had eight goals and 17 points in 43 games for the Penguins last season, playing on a contract worth $925,000 annually. According to hockey-graphs.com’s projections, Aston-Reese is in line to make about $1.3 million next season.
Arbitration hearings are scheduled for July 20 through Aug. 4 in Toronto. In the vast majority of cases, the player and team settle on a compromise before the hearing takes place. Last year, 40 of 44 arbitration cases were settled before the hearing.
When a player doesn’t file for arbitration, like Blueger and Johnson didn’t, it usually indicates the qualifying offer they received from the club in June is in the neighborhood of the contract they’d be willing to accept.
According to the website’s projections, Blueger is in line for a raise from $650,000 to $892,390 while Johnson can expect a pay cut from $925,000 to $743,261.
Pettersson is projected to make $1.63 million, but that would be on a short-term deal. If the Penguins want to work out a longer extension that stretches into his unrestricted free agent years, they can expect to pay significantly more in annual salary.
The Penguins are about $2.3 million under the $81.5 million salary cap with 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies under contract.