Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero has stated that contract talks with Sergei Gonchar are not dead. A brief meeting on Friday between Shero and J.P. Barry did not lead to any movement on a new deal.
Late Friday night, the Penguins acquired the rights to defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The acquisition of Hamhuis puts immediate pressure on Gonchar’s camp.
Barry and Shero are expected to talk once again this morning in Los Angeles and the belief is that the Penguins want an answer on whether a deal can be worked out by Sunday at the latest.
Those close to the situation say a three year deal will not be discussed from Pittsburgh’s end. Negotiations are now centering around a two year deal, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned.
The belief for a couple weeks now it that Gonchar is open to signing a two year deal but not before exploring his options in free agency. With the opportunity that Pittsburgh won’t be an option on July 1, the circumstances have changed.
Word out of Gonchar’s camp is the two sides are only about $1.5 million apart on the total worth of the contract, which has a little bit of optimism inside the organization that progress could be made.
On a two year deal, Gonchar is seeking around $5.5 – $6 million per season. Gonchar made $6 million in 2008-2009 and $5.5 million in 2009-2010.
Pittsburgh is willing to match Gonchar’s salary of $5.5 million per season for the first year of the deal but an issue has been the second year of the deal, which hasn’t sat well with Gonchar’s camp.
Out initial numbers on what Pittsburgh was willing to offer were a bit high, I have learned this morning. Gonchar’s demands I’m told are in the $11.25 – $11.5 million range on a two year deal, while Pittsburgh is in the $9.5 – $10 million on a two year deal.
One side is going to have make some concessions and it doesn’t appear it’s going to be Pittsburgh.