The Penguins completed their transactions this morning to really set their lineup for the start of the season.
Additional updates: Evgeni Malkin has been placed on long-term injured reserve. Sidney Crosby’s status has been changed to injured non-roster. Zach Aston-Reese has been added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 12, 2021
There is a lot to unpack here. The NHL mandates that teams be salary cap compliant by yesterday at 5 PM. Pittsburgh complied, and technically moved Angello and O’Connor to the AHL in transactions done on paper. This kind of Day 1 shenanigans have been going on since the days of Eric Tangradi being assigned to Wheeling for a night back in 2010. Brian Boyle wasn’t officially on the Pens’ roster until today, because he was a tryout prior to this announcement of a signed contract for the season.
The strategy the Penguins decided to use was to keep Evgeni Malkin on the Day 1 salary cap, and move him to the long-term injury reserve today. Now, Pittsburgh is allowed to move their upper limit of the salary cap for the time Malkin is out. This allowed the Pens to sign Boyle, which they couldn’t do and fit under the cap yesterday.
(It also means Malkin is officially ineligible to play in the team’s first 10 games, but that was already expected news, since he will be out at least two months with a knee rehab).
In order to stay under the 23-player maximum, the Pens had to move Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese off of the regular playing list, which allowed them room to formally re-call O’Connor and Angello from the AHL (even though they physically never went anywhere).
Clear as mud?
The next complications will be happy for the Pens, as they will eventually be looking to add Crosby and Aston-Reese to the 23-healthy player roster. When that happens, it could stand to reason that Angello will be heading off the roster, with perhaps O’Connor, Sam Lafferty or Dominik Simon to follow depending on performance and whether or not it makes sense to keep O’Connor playing in Wilkes-Barre instead of being a potential healthy scratch in Pittsburgh.
The financial wheeling and dealing around hockey can be very confusing, in the very most simple of terms, all these moves mean is that Pens navigated the salary cap to do what they had to do in order to end up with 13 healthy forwards and get Boyle signed like they wanted. It just took an extra day. Through all the activity and movement, expect them to look very close to how they practiced yesterday, now with the benefit of having Angello in reserve as an extra body.