Left winger Matt Cooke has agreed to a three-year contract with the Penguins.
His annual salary-cap hit will be $1.8 million.
Cooke, a fixture on the Penguins’ third line and their penalty-killing unit, would have become an unrestricted free agent if not re-signed by July 1.
3 years at $1.8 mil per seems maybe a teentsy bit high for a third-liner, but this signing falls squarely into the category of “sometimes it’s better to slightly overpay and just have the dude” signings, like a mini Brooks Orpik deal.
The Pens probably could’ve replaced most of Cooke’s on-paper production with a Wilkes-Barre candidate or cheaper free agent, but Cooke has scored a more-than-respectable 28 goals in two seasons with the Pens, he’s still only 31, he’s been healthy for most of two years, and his role as a veteran agitator as well as a familiar, known quantity on their third line makes this deal worth it for the Pens. Plus even if a third-liner is slightly overpaid relative to his role, we’re still only talking about a $1.8 mil cap hit, and in the grand scheme of things, the Pens wouldn’t gain much shaving $1 mil or so off their payroll by rolling the dice on a cheaper, inexperienced replacement.
Overall, this makes a lot of sense for both sides. It’s a painless, no-brainery start to what should become an increasingly difficult offseason for Ray Shero and Co.
Tags: Matt Cooke