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Insider Only Cullen Negotiations, Big Numbers flying around & the Ben Lovejoy Market

nhl-ice-reportCullen Negotiations

As negotiations are underway between the Penguins and Matt Cullen, how high should the Penguins go to retain the soon to be 40 year old Cullen who was a bargain at $800,000?

$1.25 million is a number the Penguins would be comfortable with and might be the highest they go due to their cap situation, though, my sense of the situation is that Cullen isn’t coming back at age 40 to play for around a million bucks.

Pittsburgh also has in-house replacements to fill Cullen’s role in Eric Fehr and Oskar Sundqvist.

For the Penguins they have to not get caught in a situation of paying for what Cullen did last season and instead pay for what they project his production to be.

7-10 goals and a mainstay on the penalty kill is what should be expected.

The situation is pretty simple right now.

The job of Cullen’s agent Pat Morris is to maximize his clients earnings. Morris is out searching for one year deal in the low to mid $3 million range to give Cullen all options to consider.

If that happens then it will be decision time for Cullen. Cash in one last time or chase a Stanley Cup again with Pittsburgh.

Big Numbers Flying Around during interview period

In a strong free agent market, the top guys were always going to get paid big.

Steven Stamkos is going to get $12 million per season, if he desires, Milan Lucic is said to have an offer from the Edmonton Oilers on the table of 6 years and north of $36 million. Vancouver is believed to be offering even more, though, Edmonton is considered the favorite to sign Lucic.

Some of the numbers flying around right now for the second, third tier players are sky high.

Frans Nielsen is a hot name in league circles. Lot’s of chatter he has a 7 year offer worth $40 million on the table from at least one Eastern Conference team and is certain to sign a long-term deal of at least six years on Friday.

This is for a guy who is 32 years old.

Kyle Okposo market price is said to be close to $7 million per season.

Last year there was some of the same smoke (bunch of agent talk) and it didn’t pan out. There were rumblings Matt Beleskey was going to get 5 years, $30 million and he didn’t come anywhere close to that, same for Cody Franson who was seeking Matt Niskanen money and got $6.6 million over two years.

This year might be different after all.

4th liner Matt Martin is being coveted by as many as eight teams and there’s expectations he’s going to sign a deal in the 4 year, $14-$16 million range.

Source: Bruins, Caps, Canadiens among 5 teams in mix for Lovejoy

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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