The Penguins re-signed two of their restricted free agents on Thursday. The only question is whether they will both be spending the bulk of next season in Pittsburgh or Wilkes-Barre.
Winger Jayson Megna and defenseman Philip Samuelsson both agreed to one-year extensions, the team announced. Megna’s deal would earn him $874,125 in the NHL and Samuelsson’s is worth the NHL minimum $550,000 with the big club. Both contracts are two-way deals that pay them less while playing in the AHL.
So where will they start out in the fall? Megna spent 36 games in Pittsburgh last season amidst injuries. He scored nine goals and six assists with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2013-14.
But Megna does not have to pass through waivers at the start of the season and could be assigned to the NHL without risk in October. Samuelsson, because he signed his first pro contract at a young age, could be claimed by any other NHL club before being assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
With offseason surgeries for defensemen Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot, Samuelsson could start next season in Pittsburgh as a spare defenseman.
Samuelsson was second among WBS defensemen last season with 19 assists and a plus-17 rating while posting a career-high 22 points. He has appeared in 175 AHL games.
Pittsburgh is still negotiating with a pair of WBS alums who are also restricted free agents in defenseman Simon Despres and forward Bobby Farnham.
The club also announced Thursday that former Syracuse Crunch coach Gary Agnew will join Mike Johnston’s new staff as an assistant in Pittsburgh.
More changes to the AHL
The AHL will experiment with a new overtime format next season. The extra period has been extended to seven minutes, starting with four-on-four play. Following the first whistle after the three-minute mark (four minutes remaining), play will switch to three-on-three.
A three-man shootout will be held to break ties if needed after overtime.
The league also announced that a player who receives two major penalties for fighting or three majors of any kind in the same game will receive an automatic game misconduct.