Less than two years ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins hired Brian Burke as President of Hockey Operations. However, it seems that his position is already in trouble as Larry Brooks mentions that things are not going well between Burke and the Penguins.
"So we're hearing that this new ownership group in Pittsburgh may not be as enamored with keeping Brian Burke as president of hockey operations after a second straight first-round exit." -Larry Brooks
It's also worth remembering that the Penguins also technically didn't make the first round in 2020 as they were eliminated in the preliminary round against the Montreal Canadiens. So the Penguins' playoff failures go way back.
Burke was hired when Pittsburgh decided to make changes to the club's staff. The message was clear: no rebuilding, we have the pieces to compete now.
As it stands, Evgeni Malkin
and Kris Letang will be uncompensated free agents on July 13. Should either or both decide to sign elsewhere, the impact on the Penguins' chances of competing now will be huge. Burke and general manager Ron Hextall certainly have their work cut out for them.
As of today, according to CapFriendly
, 16 players have active contracts for next season, taking a total of $59,291,842 from the payroll. That doesn't leave a lot of money, around $23M, to sign the seven players needed to reach the required 23 contracts.
Hextall will, however, have two players who will become free agents with compensation this summer. He is not in a hurry to come to an agreement with Kasperi Kapanen
($3.2 million this season) and Danton Heinen
($1.1 million), who are guaranteed to stay with the organization unless a trade or hostile offer is made.
The big story will be the nine players who will fall completely free this summer. Evgeni Malkin
($9.5M), Rickard Rakell
($2.46M), Evan Rodrigues ($1M), Kris Letang ($7.25M), Bryan Boyle ($750K), Nathan Beaulieu ($1M), Casey DeSmith
($1.25M), and Louis Domingue
($750K) will all be free agents without compensation this summer.