Pascal Dupuis was set to become one of the top free agents available this summer. As it turns out, he won't be reaching the free agent market after all.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Tuesday evening that they have re-signed Dupuis to a four-year, $15 million contract extension that will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2016-17 season. That comes out to a salary cap hit of $3.75 million per season. His previous deal paid him $1.5 million, so it's obviously a pretty significant raise.
Based on the way he's played the past few seasons in Pittsburgh, he's certainly earned it.
The deal also reportedly has a limited no-trade clause according to CBC's Elliotte Friedman.
Dupuis is coming off a huge season with the Penguins that saw him score 20 goals to go with 18 assists in 48 games while mostly playing on Pittsburgh's top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. As far as per-game averages go it was by far the most productive season of his career.
Dupuis went to Pittsburgh during the 2007-08 season as a throw-in to the trade that sent Marian Hossa to the Penguins. He's been a key part of their lineup ever since. While he's always been a solid, all-around player that could kill penalties and play a strong defensive game, his goal-scoring has exploded the past two years. Since the start of the 2011-12 season Dupuis has scored 45 goals, with 39 of them coming at even-strength. Only eight players in the NHL have scored more goals at even-strength over that time. The list: Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, John Tavares, Marian Gaborik, Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Alex Ovechkin, and Max Pacioretty.
That's the good news for Pittsburgh. He's a productive player, and a guy that can contribute and help the team even when the puck isn't going in the net for him.
The concern is that he just turned 34 and is going to be 38 when the contract ends. How productive is he still going to be in his late-30s when he's still taking up nearly $4 million in cap space? Like their cross-state rivals in Philadelphia, the Penguins are pretty tight against the salary cap and they have very little room to work with in future seasons unless the cap significantly goes up (it is expected to go increase, but there's still some debate as to how far up it's going to go).
Earlier on Tuesday the Penguins came to terms with defenseman Kris Letang on an eight-year, $58 million contract, while the team also signed Malkin to an eight-year contract and Kunitz to a three-year contract earlier in the summer.