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Pens send Jean-Sebastien Dea back to AHL

Dea’s back to the A, plus a look at the Penguins salary cap situation. It’s actually good for once!

Carolina Hurricanes v Pittsburgh Penguins

From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Jean-Sebastien Dea to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Dea, 23, skated in four games with Pittsburgh, scoring his first NHL goal against Carolina on January 23. That tally was also the game-winner. At the AHL level, Dea has produced nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points with a plus-13 in 36 games.

The Penguins are off this weekend for the All-Star Break. Pittsburgh resumes play on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM at PPG Paints Arena when the Penguins host the San Jose Sharks. That game is the third in a four-game homestand for the Pens. Thus far, they are 2-0 on the homestand, having defeated Carolina (3-1) and Minnesota (6-3) before the break to improve to 8-3 in the month of January.

Dea had played well in a very limited 4th line role, but this is a good cost savings measure for the Penguins. The NHL’s salary cap is calculated daily at a pro-rated level, and Dea’s $650,000 yearly salary doesn’t break the bank on a $75,000,000.00 upper limit, but every little bit helps.

As a result of this move the Pens are left with 12 healthy forwards on the NHL roster. A 13th, Carter Rowney, has recently amped up his rehab to practicing with the team and maybe be able to be back next week.

Speaking of the salary cap, here’s how the Pens look per capfriendly

This is about the best that Pittsburgh has looked deep in a season at least since they have been a salary cap limit team around 2008. The “deadline cap space” is a key, as of right now Pittsburgh could acquire a player with a $3.4 million yearly salary without having to make and subsequent moves.

However, the salary cap is an obstacle that can be navigated by general managers since other teams can retain up to 50% of three contracts in their dealings, with most teams having 1-3 available spots to do so. If the Pens want a player, chances are they will find a way to make it happen.

That said, it’s a testament to the front office that they approach this deadline with as much financial flexibility under the cap as possibly ever before as a contender. And, unlike for poor Pirate fans, “financial flexibility” is a great thing for the city’s hockey team that’s willing to spend whatever costs they can to give their team the best shot at winning.

We’ll see what GM Jim Rutherford has in store for the Feb 26th trade deadline but it’s good to know finances shouldn’t be that much of an impediment this year.