Mister Kennedy…RFA

Posted: May 24, 2011 by JoeyD in Free Agency, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins
Tags: ,

One of the more intriguing aspects of the Penguins offseason is what will happen with Tyler Kennedy. After the Penguins lost both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to long term injuries, it became time for the remaining players to pick up their pace. Tyler Kennedy was one of those that improved his game finishing the season with career bests in goals (21), assists (24), and points (45).  After the last game that Crosby played on January 5th against the Lightning, Kennedy had 15 goals and 12 assists.

So the offseason question becomes, has Tyler Kennedy played himself out of Pittsburgh? Kennedy earned his promotion to the big club early on in the 2007-08 season and played well enough from the get go that it turned struggling Mark Recchi expendable.  Kennedy’s first season in the NHL had a bit of a derailing with a bout with Mono and had a hard time scoring the remainder of the season. Since then, he has played well on a very cohesive third line with Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal with the occasional top-6 duties sprinkled in.

TK’s cap hit for the past two seasons was $725,000 and with GM Ray Shero’s penchant for not overpaying (for both term in addition to salary) for role players, it can shape up to be either a contentious negotiation or one that’s pretty much non-existent. Despite being an RFA, I don’t forsee the Penguins extending a Qualifying Offer as Kennedy won’t be taking that raise and that it may not be worth the retaining of Kennedy’s rights as a potential compensation package wouldnt be much more than one may trade his rights for if it came down to that.  In addition to the potential of the Penguins walking away from any arbitration award that would be favorable to Kennedy.

Early indications are that the Kennedy and Penguins camps are far apart with word that Kennedy may be looking at upwards of $2 million per year. Which isn’t terribly outlandish for a 45 point a year player, however, that is typically not Kennedy’s role. And with the Penguins top-6 shaping up to be Neal-Crosby-Kunitz-Malkin-Staal-and a sixth to be named later, depending on potential UFA (Vrbata or Kobasew perhaps??) or organizational options (Dupuis or Tangradi) available can keep Kennedy in a third line role with the Penguins. Even if you double his salary to the $1.4 million range, I wouldn’t forsee Kennedy agreeing to that. Early indications are the Penguins internal UFA priorities have begun around Dupuis and Mike Rupp.

The iron is hot and I am sure Kennedy will like to strike while he has his opportunity, and he has earned it as well. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that his stretch from January to April would occur and could have possibly ended his career in Pittsburgh.

  1. Dan MacNeal says:

    i wonder if a team like florida who needs to overspend might pay him and stick him on their second line. he’ll get his PT and his money.

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