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Penguins sign Alex Nylander for next season

Nyls back for next year

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images

Here’s a really curious one. The Penguins have re-signed Alex Nylander for next season. That in itself is not surprising as much as the timing behind it.

From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forward Alex Nylander to a one-year contract extension, it was announced today.

The one-way deal will run through the 2023-24 campaign and carries an average annual value of $775,000.

The 25-year-old Nylander spent his first full season in the Penguins organization in 2022-23 split between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. Nylander appeared in nine NHL games, registering a goal, an assist and was plus-1. With WBS, Nylander set AHL career highs across the board in goals (25), assists (25), points (50) and power-play goals (12) in 55 games. His 25 goals led all WBS skaters, and his 12 power-play tallies ranked ninth in the AHL.

Nylander was great in the AHL, showed some flashes in the NHL, not surprising that Pittsburgh would want to keep him on a deal they can just bury in the minors if they don’t want him in the NHL level.

But the really interesting thing is who the hell authorized this signing? Ron Hextall and Brian Burke are fired. There is no actual front office right now. Was Mike Sullivan just like “hey you want a contract”? That’s the best part of this all, how does a guy sign when a team has no department in place to do so? Did they see Filip Hallander sign back to Sweden yesterday and think “oh crap, we can’t lose another young guy!”. (Actually...there just might be something to that..)

Fun times, I guess, given the circumstances that nothing else is going on for the Pens. But Alex Nylander will be back next year, or at least earning a chiefly salary in Wilkes-Barre if he doesn’t make the NHL roster.