The Pittsburgh Penguins announced a contract for one of their restricted free agents on Tuesday, signing defender Pierre-Olivier Joseph for two seasons.
The Penguins have re-signed defenseman P.O Joseph (@POJoseph15) to a two-year contract.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 12, 2022
The one-way deal begins in 2022.23 and runs through the 2023.24 season and carries an average annual value of $825,000. https://t.co/pwqxJ2RyDx
The deal is a one-way deal, which — don’t let the popular video game fool you — doesn’t have anything to with his waiver status. It just means he gets paid the same amount whether he is in the NHL or AHL.
Joseph, due to his age (23) and seasons accrued (5) is no longer able to go to the AHL without waivers.
But, in that sense, having a two-year contract with a one-way deal could be seen as a form of waiver protection. Joseph carries a relatively significant amount of guaranteed money, which could deter another team from making a claim, should he ever hit the waiver wire.
Then again, for the player perhaps most famous still for being a part of the 2019 Phil Kessel trade, the one-way money could also be seen as something of a full-time graduation to the NHL. Teams don’t like to pay big money and an NHL wage for players to play in the minors, if they can help it.
The Penguins’ NHL blueline is a crowded place — with now eight NHL players for what should be seven spots as we touched on earlier today — which means the next activity among Pittsburgh and defensemen probably means trading one out for salary relief and/or a forward to help boost the ranks in that area of the team.
Joseph only appeared in four NHL games last season in 2021-22, but played 20 games back in the 2020-21 season. He has spent plenty of time in the AHL, becoming a key contributor on the blue line for Wilkes-Barre over the past handful of years.