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Contract talks with Gonchar could be complicated
Team hopes to finalize a deal by training camp
One of the Penguins top priorities this summer has been locking up defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a long-term extension.
The two sides have begun preliminary discussions this week but both sides don’t expect a deal to be finalized as easily as once believed.
The main issue in the talks is the fact that
if Gonchar were to retire before the end of his contract, Pittsburgh would be on the hook for the cap hit.
Gonchar has expressed an willingness to take less money for the better of the team but he wants a longer term in return.
That remains the major a holdup inside the organization. One source told me Gonchar’s camp is willing to go as low as $3 million per season on a four year extension.
That would save the Penguins significant money on the cap but it’s a risk that Gonchar will still be playing in 5 years.
A three year extension is where the Penguins opened talks this week. The best case scenario for the team is to get Gonchar’s cap hit below $4 million per season.
Based on discussions with both sides, it sounds like the term is what will complicate these talks but both sides are confident a deal will be reached.
Pittsburgh hasn’t ruled out going 3 or 4 years.
Gonchar had 19 points in 25 regular season games, this past season.
*** Another top priority for the team is signing Kris Letang to a long-term extension. It’s believed Letang’s camp is seeking upwards of $3 million per season. Those talks are expected to go into the season.