Free Agent Profile: Evan Rodriguez

As he was enjoying his breakout season at the age of 28, many believed the Pittsburgh Penguins to be a striker. Evan Rodriguez He has positioned himself to enter the open market this summer. A position that did well on his end, Rodriguez finally found offensive success which made him a real two-way lead and a perfect fit in the middle six for just about any team. Given the status of cap penguins and the need to re-sign Yevgeny MalkinAnd the Chris LetangAnd the Ricard RaquelIt looks like Rodriguez would be too wealthy to stay with the club and could move forward elsewhere. However, more than two weeks after starting free agency, Rodriguez remained unsigned, with little fanfare about his name. After a season in which he scored 19 goals and 24 assists, smashing previous best results, it’s interesting to find Rodriguez still without any bites, at least we’re aware of that.

Prior to this season, Rodriguez’s previous career best was 25 points, which came in 48 games for the Buffalo Sabers in 2017-18, the same points-per-game pace for this season. That season was the striker’s first on a two-year contract carrying $650,000. In 2018-19, Rodriguez took a step back, scoring what was then 29 points, but he did so in 74 games. RFA, Rodrigues earned a $2 million salary by arbitration for the 2019-20 season. After the summer 2019 refereeing decision, Rodriguez struggled to bounce back, scoring just 24 points in 80 games between the Buffalo Sabers and Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. But this year, Rodriguez has been able to show he can be the player he was in the 2017-18 season with his 43-point performance.

So, the question remains: What is holding back Rodrigues’ market? Of course, not exactly a teammate Sidney CrosbyBut he showed he had a lot to offer. One concern may be that, over the course of six seasons with regular NHL games played, the veteran has only matched his 2021-22 productions once, again in the 2017-18 season. Another concern is consistency. Looking closely at this season, Rodriguez has been an All-Star caliber player, scoring 32 points from 43 points in just 46 games before the All-Star break. In an already dominant first half, he dropped to just 11 points in 36 games after the break.

Rodriguez’s pros and cons provide a basis for negotiation, but the answer to why he’s still in the market still remains unreachable. The answer may lie in the fact that Rodriguez has recently turned 29 and is coming off his best season yet. He can view this as his best opportunity to secure a contract with a very attractive term and salary, not willing to compromise on either front. From a front office perspective, Rodrigues showed 40-point flashes, or maybe even 50 points, but in the absence of some stellar extensions, he was mostly a 25-30 point player. With the cap crunch all 32 teams are facing and may have already found more statistically consistent players in the agent and free trade markets already, teams are tired of giving Rodriguez what he wants (duration and salary) without knowing what kind of player he really is. he is.


2021-22: 82 GP, 19-24-43, +3 rating, 14 PIMs, 243 shots, 59.8 CF%, 15:50 ATOI

Career path Career path: 316 GP, 53-76-159, rated -30, 77 PIMs, 701 shots, 53.7 CF%, 14:24 ATOI

Potential suitors:

Even if the market is slow and hasn’t finished the decade he was hoping for, Rodriguez should have no problem finding a suitor when he and the teams are ready. Rodriguez’s first half of this year has been intriguing, but the player he’s played for most of his career, a reliable two-way center, six-bottom can give flashes of attack, always needed, from cup contenders to mid-pack teams to rebuilding .

What exactly the veteran’s contract expectations are and how much he is willing to compromise, if any, will determine the difference that could be in the market for him. His poise and ability to play for enduring competitors like the Penguins, along with the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Letang, prove that Rodriguez can handle the bright lights and pressure that playoffs and bankruptcy bring. Competitive teams that could use another striker in the middle or lower six, such as Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, or even a reunion with the Penguins, makes sense, but those teams are all close to the salary, if not out of date. hat.

Teams trying to exceed or stay away from the salary cap, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, can be options for Rodrigues, all of whom not only can’t pay, but may want to pay for their own reasons. . Perhaps not some of the more attractive options, it could give Rodriguez an expanded role, appreciate his leadership and provide more opportunities to replicate his offensive production. Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames, who could use another secondary scoring option and have plenty of room to make a solid showing along with an opportunity to compete, might be very strong options for Rodriguez, who could have the best of both worlds in terms of contracting and competitiveness in those destinations.

Expected Contract:

Rodrigues came in 24th place on our site List of Top 50 UFAs In early July. There, we signed AAV’s three-year, $3 million contract with Minnesota Wild. The Wild could very well be for Rodrigues, but at this point the striker is unlikely to find the contract we’ve been expecting for him with a competitive team like the Wild, Islanders, Flames, Oilers, Rangers or Penguins, all of them mentioned above. But, if a contract along those lines is a sticking point, it may not be beyond the possibility that a team like the Ducks, Wolves or Black Hawks will make the show, betting on Rodriguez’s production and value as an asset. On the road. Ultimately, given his career track record, it remains unlikely at this point that the 29-year-old will head toward a PTO in a training camp, even if that means accepting what could be considered a disappointing proposition.