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Report: Penguins to spend short of salary cap for 2020-21 season

According to reports, the Penguins may not be a salary cap team for the first time since 2007.

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2017 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In the fallout of the Penguins’ defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL Playoff qualifying round, a lot of questions are being asked.

What went wrong? How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed?

We already know that Mike Sullivan will return as the coach of the team, but he will have a new staff for the 2020-21 season.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said Tuesday that changes need to be made.

According to reports by Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi for The Athletic ($), big changes are still to come, with one of those changes being in the form of the salary cap.

The Penguins, for the first time since 2007, likely will not spend near the salary cap to start the upcoming season, according to multiple team and league sources.

Revenue is down, in part because of early playoff exits and in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ownership believes cost-cutting measures are reasonable at this time. Rutherford would be permitted to spend to the cap in-season if ownership was convinced the club was a piece or two away from a deep playoff run, team and industry sources said.

The Penguins not being a team that spends to the salary cap would be quite a change.

Every year, even those when there were obvious flaws to the roster composition, they have been a team that has maximized its chances to use its financial muscle to spend to the cap.

What does that mean for the Penguins roster?

As written in The Athletic, the Penguins are aiming to spend in the low-to-mid $70 million range. As things stand, the team has approximately $68 million in cap hits counted towards an $81.5 million ceiling.

Rutherford stated during his comments on Tuesday that he is not actively looking to trade any of his core players in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Kris Letang.

Where the Penguins go from here is yet to be seen, but one would think that if the team is looking to spend less, particularly in the current times of COVID with the ongoing pandemic and so much unknown on the financial horizon, it would make senses to expect an active Rutherford this summer when it comes to trades.