Two members of the Pittsburgh Penguins' back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship teams found new homes at the opening of free agency. Ian Cole and Justin Schultz signed contracts with new teams within ten minutes of the NHL's free agent market opening.
Ian Cole, now signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, left the Penguins via trade during the 2017-18 season after playing in parts of four seasons in Pittsburgh. Cole played last season with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he scored 19 points (2-17) in 75 games.
Tampa Bay signed Cole to a one-year deal that will cost $3 million against the salary cap. The 33-year-old defenseman will look to help fill the void left by the departure of Ryan McDonagh on the Lightning's blue line.
Justin Schultz signed with the Seattle Kraken for two years and will make around $3 million, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. Schultz has played the past two years with the Washington Capitals, scoring 50 points (7-43) in 120 games in the nation's capital.
Schultz was an integral figure in both Penguin's championships, particularly in 2017 when Kris Letang was on the shelf with an upper-body injury. Schultz scored 13 points (4-9) in 21 playoff games while averaging over 19 minutes of ice time per game. One of his playoff goals came in Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead midway through the third period.
Schultz joins the Kraken in the second year of their franchise's existence. The Kraken are looking to build on a slow first season in which they finished last in the Pacific Division. Schultz will join other Penguins Jamie Oleksiak, Brandon Tanev, and Jared McCann in Seattle.
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