The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed standout defensemen Brian Dumoulin to a brand new 6 year contract. The deal comes just a few weeks before the arbitration meeting that would have taken place; meaning that the Penguins avoid arbitration and have locked up Dumo long term.
What the Deal Is
The 6 year deal carries an average cap hit of 4.1 million dollars and is reportedly a flat level deal. This means that the cap hit remains $4.1 million for each year of the deal, never going up or down. This contract also makes Dumo the 3rd highest paid Penguins defensemen on roster, falling behind superstar Kris Letang and other new signee Justin Schultz.
What the Deal Means
With any new contract comes extended meaning beyond just simply signing the player. The $24.6 million deal leaves the Penguins with 6.28 million dollars left in cap space for the upcoming season according to CapFriendly. This means that the Penguins only have that much room to work with to acquire a third line center and sign the other RFA, Conor Sheary.
There has been little to no action on the Sheary front, however, Post Gazette writer, Jason Mackey, reported that Sheary and Dumoulin’s agent, Lewis Gross, is planning on getting a deal done before Sheary’s arbitration date. No rumors or even rumblings have been discussed as to what the 25 year old Left Winger’s contract could look like. However, when taking a look at his stats, one could make an argument for a somewhat lucrative deal, but I don’t see him getting much more than $3 million. Sheary’s 63 points in 103 NHL games is certainly nothing to turn a nose to. However, this is only over two NHL seasons, which usually is not enough for GMs to give long term deals. I expect a bridge contract to be offered for Sheary, somewhere in the area of 2-3 years with an AAV of $3 million would be absolutely perfect. On top of this, given his lackluster playoffs last year, the cap hit could fall even farther below value.
The Penguins should then still have enough room to sign/acquire a decent enough third line center that would fall anywhere between the $2-4 million range depending on what got sent back *cough cough Tyler Bozak.*
The deal also shows just how important defense is in today’s NHL. The Penguins now currently have 7 NHL defensemen signed for a total of 25.9 million dollars, with $20.93 million locked up in what can be the assumed Top 4 (Letang, Schultz, Dumoulin, Maatta.)
Is Brian Dumoulin really worth 4.1 million dollars a year? Probably not, however, is a Left Handed Defensemen worth that in today’s NHL? You bet. When looking at other deals around the league, the Dumoulin deal is actually more of a steal.