Jared McCann has been a man of mystery for the Pittsburgh Penguins over the past few months with an extensive list of questions following him around.
It started going into the playoffs with “will he be able to center a competent third line?” to give the Penguins what they need out of that spot?
Once the season ended it shifted to things like this...
- Will he even be a member of the team next season?
- What position will he play if he is, and what position should he play?
- Exactly how good is he really, and what is his upside?
All very valid questions that still need answered. But we might already have answer to the first one thanks to some news on Friday.
It was then that the team announced it has re-signed McCann, who was set to become a restricted free agent, to a two-year bridge contract that will pay him an average annual salary of $2.94 million per season.
He will still be a restricted free agent when this contract ends.
That seems like a pretty fair price for the Penguins.
McCann has the versatility to play up and down the lineup and in a variety of positions (first-line wing, third-line center) and he has the talent to be a really productive player, something he has shown at various times since arriving midway through the 2018-19 season. Has he been streaky at times? You bet he has been, but show me a player that is not streaky when it comes to their goal-scoring. The bottom line is he has scored at a 20-goal, 45-50 point pace per 82 games and is not a total zero defensively. That is a good player, and one probably worth keeping around. I don’t know if he is the ideal third-line center fit, but I also do not want to let a four-game sampling in a strange playoff year take on too much weight.
His name has surfaced in trade speculation early on this offseason.
Does this contract put an end to that? Perhaps. But you never know what Jim Rutherford has cooking at any given moment (does Jim even know?). It could simply make him more attractive to potential trade suitors who now know exactly what he is going to cost.
With McCann’s contract signed that leaves Matt Murray, Tristan Jarry, Dominik Simon, Sam Lafferty, and Anthony Angello as the remaining unsigned restricted free agents.
Justin Schultz, Conor Sheary, and Patrick Marleau are all unrestricted.