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Pittsburgh Penguins to let winger Michel Ouellet become free agent

Tuesday, 06.26.2007 / 1:35 PM / News

The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will let winger Michel Ouellet become a free agent.

General manager Ray Shero said the decision not to make a qualifying contract offer to Ouellet was driven largely by the salary cap and the fact that Ouellet would be eligible for salary arbitration.

"The decision was not about Michel, but about the system," Shero said. "Michel did a good job and made strides last year. I respect those strides, but I don't believe his (salary range) is where he thinks he might be."

Ouellet has scored 35 goals in the past two seasons, and had 19 goals and 48 points last season.

The Penguins extended qualifying offers to six players who will not become free agents on Sunday as a result. They are forwards Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Maxime Talbot and newly acquired Tim Brent, and defenceman Ryan Whitney and Ryan Lannon.

The Penguins did not make a qualifying offer to goaltender Andrew Penner, who played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton farm team last season.

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Philadelphia is where I started my NHL career and this is where I want to be so I am really happy. This definitely gives me a lot of confidence by the Flyers showing that they have confidence in me. I know they want to see me get better as a player and this is the place to do it.

— Zac Rinaldo to the Flyers website on signing a two-year contract extension with Philadelphia