The clock is ticking on Tyler Kennedy and the Pittsburgh Penguins to reach a new deal. The Penguins have made it known to Kennedy’s camp that they are opposed to going to arbitration and the two sides are entering a crucial period of talks.
The team has also indicated that they might actively seek a trade for Kennedy by draft weekend if a deal is not reached or if there’s a sense that a deal can’t be worked out.
Pressure is mounting on both sides to find some common ground and the team has already begun to “mildly” gauge the trade market for Kennedy and could have an interested party in the Florida Panthers. However, the Penguins focus as of today is still on finalizing a deal in the next 10-14 days.
As of this past weekend, the two sides were extremely far apart on a new deal. But, a somewhat positive development is that finally after nearly three weeks of “exploratory” and “preliminary” talks, talks have finally progressed into actual contract negotiations, sources say.
“We are in discussions, ” Steve Bartlett, the agent for Tyler Kennedy confirmed to Inside Pittsburgh Sports this afternoon when asked if talks were still on-going.
Several stumbling blocks have been in the way, and different options remain in play, including a two or three year deal.
There continues to be chatter that the Penguins remain strict on keeping Kennedy’s cap hit in the $1.5 million range (plus-1 or minus-1) and there hasn’t been a structure set forth yet that has worked for both sides.
Kennedy’s camp is said to have gone into talks a few weeks ago with high demands of a base salary in year 1 of at least $1.75 million and a $2 million + salary in year 2.
Probably means nothing but one thing I’ve yet to hear from those in Kennedy’s camp is that Kennedy wants to be a Penguin, something you’ll frequently hear from the agents of Adams, Rupp/Dupuis, Max Talbot and even Matt Cooke last year.
I doubt it these are impacting talks but there’s also been some rumblings that he felt extremely disrespected in the way he opened up this past training camp as the odd-man out and not in the Penguins top-12.
Elsewhere on the Free Agent Front…..
The Penguins have wrapped up their professional scouting meetings and GM Ray Shero is in Boston today for the NHL GM meetings. Head shots are at the forefront of discussions.
Talks with the Penguins “top priorities” Adams, Rupp and Dupuis are expected to intensify as early as next week.
More on Max Talbot in a later feature and some buzz coming out the Pens scouting meetings.