It doesn't make sense to sign this guy to a NHL contract. Give him an AHL only and he doesn't count against the 50-man roster.
It's only a year contract. They are at 37 player contracts now, 38 if you count unconfirmed Vesey. Lets say they sign all their current RFA's; that puts them at 44 player contracts (though I doubt they end up signing Pakarinen). So there's still 6-7 spaces left over for FA signings, and they only really need to add a few more depth players (all they can add really given their salary issues). Makes sense to keep this guy around as he has shown he can compete at the AHL level, and who knows, maybe he has a big offseason and makes that next step towards being a depth NHL player.