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Pens re-sign Bortuzzo — two years, $1.2 million

Jul 24, 2013, 4:09 PM EDT

Robert Bortuzzo Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins will avoid arbitration with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo after agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with the 24-year-old, the club announced today.

The contract has an average annual value of $600,000.

Bortuzzo appeared in 15 regular-season games for the Pens in 2013, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists while averaging 13:17 of ice time per game.

The big d-man was originally drafted in 2007, 87th overall by the Pens.

There are now just four restricted free agents still headed for arbitration – Mats Zuccarello (Rangers), Mark Fraser (Leafs), Zach Bogosian (Jets) and Blake Wheeler (Jets).

  1. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    How do they still have money? I thought they were out of cap space lol

    • hockey412 - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      They are out. Teams are allowed to be out at this point. Pittsburgh, Philly, San Jose, and I think Boston are all negative (Philly is a little misleading because Pronger is still technically active until the year 2113, but they’ll get that cap hit back).

      • Tyler - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        Hockey412 is right. Those four teams are all in the red. The Penguins are almost $500k over.

        They could actually let Engelland ($566k) go and be under the cap. Barely. Both Niskanen and Engelland will be UFA’s in 14-15.

    • miketoasty - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Niskanen is most likely out which frees up $2.3m off of the books which puts them back under the cap, but as Hockey412 said they have plenty of time to make other moves to make it under the cap.

  2. penguins2946 - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Bye Niskanen. Pens top-6 next year will be:

    Scuderi-Letang
    Orpik-Martin
    Despres-Bortuzzo/Engelland

    Niskanen will be traded for either a 2nd round pick, a F prospect or a cheap 3rd liner with size. I’d guess the 1st is the most likely.

  3. joey4id - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Yep! Yet another sign that low end players are left with the bread crumbs compared to the mid & top players. Mind you 1.2m for 2 years is not bad at all. Hope they know how to save for their money because up and coming younger low end players will be aiming to take away jobs from the bottom tier players. This is the new NHL salary reality. The bottom 151 players combined salaries equate to the top 13-15% player salaries combined. Teams spent more money this year than than ever before signing free agents, and this after a new CBA to fix problems and a decrease in the salary cap.

    • hockey412 - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM

      When you say “new” NHL salary reality, what do you mean? It’s been this way quite a while now. The salary is driven by the market, which can only be changed through regulation…the players just went through a lock out, during which the issue of salary descrepency could have been addressed if they had chosen to do so. The fact is that while I like Bortuzzo, there are a lot of other guys that can fill his spot, which drives down his value. That’s just the way it is.

      That being said…give me one crack at $600k, and I’m not crying about it.

      • joey4id - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:48 AM

        That’s a good question. I’m referring to the way the money is being divided between the 3 tiers. i.e low, mid and high end players. More money is being given to top players than ever before, leaving less to be distributed to the mid level players and bottom feeders. This year the teams spent more money than ever during the free agent signing frienzy we witnessed this year.

  4. chanceoffleury1 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Good signing! Still needs some polishing and developing but I think he’ll get a lot more ice time this year which will help a lot, and Scuderi/Orpik will be great role models for him to turn into a shutdown guy to grow alongside a puck mover like Despres. I’m happy to see him stay. He’s definitely got some great potential he still hasn’t even tapped into and I’m looking forward to seeing it next year! And Matt Niskanen moved to the top of my s*** list this year in the playoffs so I hope to see him go. Easily the Pens worst player almost any given time he was on the ice. He really had some immensely devastating mistakes that cost the Pens. He did some nice things for being pocket change in the James Neal trade, but the Pens have cheaper alternatives that need the ice time and experience.

  5. pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    I still don’t really care for Bortuzzo…he looks the Elmer’s Glue man.

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