Zach Aston-Reese Re-Signs With Penguins
The Penguins have re-signed forward Zach Aston-Reese to a two-year contract. The one-way contract runs through the 2020.21 campaign and carries an average annual value of $1 million.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 22, 2019
Zach Aston-Reese had one foot through the door Monday morning in Toronto heading into an arbitration hearing before he signed a new contract with the Penguins. The two settled on a two-year, $2 million deal. The forward was rumoured have previously asked for more money. However, the team offering a longer-term than the arbitrator could have is likely what ultimately locked down Aston-Reese.
In 43 games last season, Aston-Reese collected eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. Over 59 career games, he’s totaled 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 games.
What This Means for the Future
Zach Aston-Reese is a solid fourth-liner for Pittsburgh. He proved himself to be responsible with the puck. The center can be utilized on the penalty kill, an area that the team struggled with last year. He shows promise and could develop into more than his current fourth-line position with the organization.
After suffering a broken jaw in Game 3 of the second-round series of the 2017-18 playoffs via a gruesome hit from Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson, Aston-Reese quickly became a fan favourite. He rebounded after a long recovery and a stint in the AHL to regain some confidence. In his 11 games in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he tallied six goals and three assists for nine points.
Now, the Penguins have a cap issue. After re-signing Aston-Reese, the team has no wiggle room and still need to sign Marcus Pettersson. They could send a defenceman like Chad Ruhwedel or Zach Trotman through waivers. Another scenario that could play out in Pittsburgh is the club opting to use Tristan Jarry as their backup netminder, over Casey DeSmith.
Whatever the Penguins ultimately decide, they’ll need to do it quickly. Opening day is coming, and the team will need to finalize their roster before they know it.