Pens re-sign Megna, add Gary Agnew as assistant coach

Kirk Irwin

A couple of housekeeping items for the Pittsburgh Penguins: a restricted free agent is brought back and a new NHL assistant coach is added.

As news always does this time in summer, a couple of minor items have trickled out for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

First and possibly foremost, the Pens have added Gary Agnew (most recently an assistant with the St. Louis Blues) as an assistant head coach to join Mike Johnston's staff. Agnew, as Trib writer Josh Yohe pointed out, was let go from STL after his power play went 2 for 29 in the series against Chicago. But, if the Pens can have a 4th ranked power play under Mike Yeo, anything is possible, so we'll see how it works out.

Agnew was named after Travis Green (ex-Johnston assistant), turned down a job with the Pens last week, preferring to stay for his second year as head coach in Utica (AHL). Green wants to be a head coach and is perhaps smart to think that it would be better accomplished for him with more experience as a main guy, rather than NHL assistant.

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Also the Pens have re-signed forward Jayson Megna. From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Jayson Megna to a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The deal is a two-way contract, and has an average annual value of $874,125 at the NHL level.

Megna, 24, saw action at the NHL level for the first time in 2013-14, tallying five goals, four assists and nine points in 36 regular-season contests. He also suited up for two playoff games

A native of Plantation, Florida, Megna made his NHL debut on Oct. 25 against the New York Islanders and notched his first NHL points with a goal and an assist on Oct. 28 at Carolina.

Megna figures to be right in the mix of a training camp competition for a NHL roster spot. The Pens have Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Craig Adams, Marcel Goc signed already and are likely to have restricted free agents Nick Spaling and Brandon Sutter back in the fold soon too.

Megna should be competing with a guy like Adams for the final spot in the lineup every night, but if he can clearly outperform some of the other guys (specifically Comeau) that would make his case to stay a lot stronger.

Signing this early means Megna probably took his qualifying offer as it was, which makes sense- he has no leverage as a young player and $874,125 at the NHL level is a higher cap hit than a lot of young players (former first round pick Simon Despres, for example, only had to have a $850,000 offer which he may or may not decide to take). This is courtesy of the amount Megna was able to command via being an undrafted free agent. So good for him, but at under a million bucks, it's still a fair deal for the team too, should he be good enough to make the NHL club.

Update: since it was asked, Megna is waiver exempt this season, until the point where he plays his 34th NHL game of the year. By that point he'll have 70 career NHL games and due to his age, will be waiver eligible. Just a thought but due to this, he'll probably be bouncing from the eastern to western part of the state quite a bit this season.

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