NHL Rumors: Many Teams In On Free Agent Evan Rodrigues

Evan Rodrigues is coming off two consecutive one-year contracts with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first was just a $700,000 deal and his pay was bumped up to $1 million for last season. Though Rodrigues deserves a big pay raise after a career year last season, it is hard to see him getting it at this point of the offseason.

Rodrigues is an unrestricted free agent and Greg Wyshynski reported that "Evan Rodrigues' agent is in talks with 7-8 teams (including Calgary and Pittsburgh), hoping for a deal soon. Some teams are trying to move money." He will get signed, but the amount and term is in question. As teams are trying to move money, it appears as though he will get more than $1 million AAV on his next deal.

Last season Rodrigues got the opportunity he has been waiting for. The Penguins were riddled with injuries including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to begin the season. Rodrigues, who was a bottom-six forward/center, was tasked with stepping up. He was a major piece in the first half of the season in keeping the Penguins in contention while their stars were on the sidelines.
Rodrigues recorded 15 goals and 30 points in the first 33 games of the season playing in the top-six. After that when the team started to get healthy, he returned to his role in the bottom-six. With a chance, he proved he can be a very good player, but he has been stuck at the bottom of the lineup his entire career. Now that teams have seen what he can do with an opportunity, it is likely some of the teams that are interested are ones whose star players miss time due to injuries. Having Rodrigues as a safety net for when that happens ensures the team that signs him isn't in a bad place.

He logged a ton of power-play minutes last season on top of receiving some votes for the Selke Trophy for his great defensive play. He will be a steal late in the offseason and I'm not shocked so many teams are trying to bring him in.

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