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Hextall Says 'Fair to Say' Penguins Will Make a Move This Week

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall could be looking to shed cap space in the next few days.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were busy on day one of the NHL Draft. They locked up franchise defenseman Kris Letang for six years and made a first-round selection for the first time since 2019. However, general manager Ron Hextall shared that his work is only beginning this week.

While speaking to the media in Montreal, Hextall stated that it's "fair to say" that the Penguins will look to shed more salary cap space before the opening of free agency on July 13th. According to capfriendly.com, the Penguins currently have $15.3 million available after signing Letang. 

The team is still in negotiations with star center Evgeni Malkin, who is rumored to be willing to sign a deal worth $6 million per season but wants the term to be longer than three years. 

Even if they sign Malkin, Pittsburgh still has multiple holes to fill on their forward lineup, including another top-six winger and one or two more bottom-six wingers. The list of Penguins free agents includes Kasperi Kapanen, Rickard Rakell, and Evan Rodrigues, among others. 

If the Penguins are going to make a trade, it is expected that it will be one of their defenseman going the other way. The left side of the Penguin's defense includes three players who each make over $4 million per season. Not to mention prospect P.O. Joseph who should compete for a spot during this year's training camp.

The Penguins prefer to move on from Pettersson, who has three years remaining on his current contract that pays him $4.025 million per year. 

Although not preferred by Penguins management, right-handed defenseman John Marino is another option. Marino is considered much more desirable across the NHL, despite being signed for five more seasons at $4.4 million.

With time running out before the opening of free agency, the Penguins continue to search for ways to create more room under the NHL salary cap.

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