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As CapGeek notes, the Penguins are over the salary cap by $1.1 million heading into the season, so it seems some players could be on the move. Although several are locked into long-term contracts, 11 of them will become free agents at the season's end (eight unrestricted, three restricted).
Since it's still early in the season, there have not been any concrete names floated around in trade rumors, but Penguins players are well-aware that someone could be on the way out.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen has been a part of trade speculation, and he told Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
I know the situation we're in being over the cap. It's pretty evident that Ray [Shero, the general manager] has to make a decision. Someone who probably otherwise is a regular on our roster [will be traded].
However, as Molinari wrote in another article, the Pens may not have to move anyone at all:
It turns out that a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that took effect in January -- a provision the Penguins did not favor when it was being negotiated -- could spare them the need to part with a player they would like to keep.
The CBA allows teams to deduct up to $925,000 of the salary of a player with a one-way contract -- which means he is paid the same amount whether he is in the NHL or the minors -- from the club's cap hit if he is assigned to the American Hockey League...
It's definitely different under this system, where you have that latitude, Shero said.
Despite some disappointments last season, Shero seems satisfied with his roster as is and may want to avoid making a trade. But at the same time, he could end up wanting to lock up more players after the 2013-14 campaign or get rid of a contract he regrets handing out. Or he could feel a player such as Niskanen is replaceable and look to move him to a team where that player could have a fresh start.
Penguins fans should keep an eye on potential comings and goings as the March 5 trade deadline gets closer.