Jim Rutherford says defenseman Marcus Pettersson will have a new contract before the Penguins open training camp next month.
It just might not be the kind of deal that either side would prefer.
Rutherford and Pettersson's agent, Peter Wallen, have put off negotiating a contract to replace the one that expired after last season while Rutherford tries to make a personnel move or two to open some salary-cap space.
Rutherford said Monday that although he has not made any progress toward that objective, management has some moves in mind that could be executed during the preseason to create some room under the NHL's $81.5 million cap ceiling for 2019-20.
"We've gone through some different (trade) options," he said. "We've also gone through options that if we don't move anybody, what we do coming out of camp."
CapFriendly.com places the Penguins' cap hit for a 23-man roster, which does not include Pettersson, during the coming season at $81,657,500, which is $157,500 above the ceiling. That roster includes defensemen Zach Trotman and Juuso Riikola, neither of whom seems certain to begin the season in the NHL.
It's worth noting that league regulations allow teams to exceed the cap by up to 10 percent during the offseason, and clubs are not compelled to carry more than 20 players on their major-league roster, although most like to keep a spare or two around.
Petttersson, 23, was acquired from Anaheim for Daniel Sprong last Dec. 3, and is a restricted free agent after playing on an a three-year, entry-level contract with an average annual value of $894,167.
Neither side has divulged the length of the agreement they hope to reach this summer, or the money they expect to be involved. Rutherford, though, said the details of the deal will hinge on whether the Penguins can open some cap space.
"If we (create) space, his contract would be different," he said. "There's a (salary) number that fits within our cap now, but that's not the number that both sides would prefer in a new contract."
Wallen has stressed the importance of striking a deal early enough that Pettersson can secure the necessary visa to travel here from Sweden so that he can adjust to the time-zone difference before drills begin Sept. 13.
"We'll get it done at the appropriate time to get him in time for camp and everything," Rutherford said.
In the meantime, he will continue to explore ways to shed some salary.
"Our preference would be to do it now, but if we don't, we'll do it during camp," Rutherford said. "And if we don't, we have options that will work for us, that will make us (salary cap)-compliant to start the season."