Penguins retain Rickard Rakell with six-year, $30M deal ahead of free agency

The Pittsburgh Penguins have retained veteran forward Rickard Rakell on a new six-year contract worth $5 million per season, the team announced late Monday, less than two days before Rakell was set to become a free agent.

“Rickard proved that he is a great addition to our team this season,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a statement. “He brings versatility and offense to our lineup, and we know he will be an impactful player for us going forward.”

Rakell, 29, was acquired by the Penguins in March from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a second-round pick and three prospects. In 19 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, Rakell recorded 13 points with four goals and nine assists. He didn’t contribute much in the postseason as Rakell suffered an injury from a hit early in Game 1 of a series against the New York Rangers and didn’t return until the Penguins’ Game 7 loss.

In over nine seasons with the Ducks, Rakell recorded 154 goals and 185 assists. During the 2016-17 season, he led the NHL in game-winning goals with 10.

On Monday, ESPN reported the Penguins have decided to allow three-time All-Star and two-time Art Ross Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin to reach free agency after 16 seasons with the franchise. Free agency is set to begin Wednesday at noon ET.

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