Latest Penguins Free Agency Buzz
— With the NHL Draft less than two weeks away, negotiations between the Penguins and Tyler Kennedy will be the most intriguing over the next 10-12 days.
The two sides enter this week not any closer to a deal than they were when preliminary talks first began weeks ago. The Penguins have reached the point where they know Kennedy is going to cost in excess of $2 million per season and there’s pretty much no chance of getting Kennedy locked in to a cap hit in the $1.4 – $1.5 million range that the Penguins were said to be seeking.
The Penguins want to keep Kennedy but the biggest dilemma is the team just can’t determine what his role is when the team is fully healthy. That has made them extremely wary of committing around $2 million per season on a multi-year deal.
Sources indicate the Penguins would love to do a one year deal around $2-$2.25 million and see where all the pieces fit. The difficulty will be getting Kennedy’s camp interested but it can’t be ruled out if the Penguins keep Kennedy and negotiate past July 1 before arbitration.
Whether Kennedy fits into a top-6 role is not the issue for Penguin management. They are willing to pay a third liner close to $2 million per season, it’s just a matter of whether they see Kennedy being an impact player in another crucial area than just at even strength.
I think the Trib’s Rob Rossi was spot on this weekend in writing that the key questions from the Pens is whether Kennedy’s a legitimate power play guy.
— One report over the weekend indicated that Max Talbot is seeking a four year deal. While that’s likely true, keep in mind that has never been discussed between GM Ray Shero and Talbot’s reps.
One reason why is contract discussions between the two sides have yet to happen and as of this morning, no talks were scheduled for today. As I mentioned last week, Talbot’s reps were hopeful to begin the first set of talks at somepoint this week.
I have it on pretty good authority that Talbot would accept a three year offer with little to no raise from his previous salary of $1.05 million. Just a matter of whether Pittsburgh will even make an offer and most notably over two years. Talbot has no interest in a two year deal.
— 32 year old winger Pascal Dupuis is seeking a Matt Cooke (3 years – $5.4 million) type of deal. Agent Allan Walsh is also said to be tabbing Dupuis as the best 2-way forward set to hit the market and believes he could land Dupuis over $2 million per season in free agency.
Dupuis though wants to return to Pittsburgh in the worst way but it’s not expected he will come off his demands of a three year deal. There’s some belief Dupuis would even sign on the dotted line right now for an identical 3 year – $4.2 million deal he signed in 2008.
— The Mike Rupp situation is pretty easy. Pittsburgh has the parameters of a two year offer on the table but with little to no raise over his previous salary of $850,000.
As of late last week that has been a major stumbling block. Rupp’s agent went into talks seeking a two year deal worth around $1.25 million per season, something Pittsburgh has had little interest in.
I’m told Walsh believes Rupp could land a three year deal on the open market and a pretty big raise over last years salary. Does Rupp go for the money on what could be his last big paycheck or stay in a place he loves for less? That’s what he’s weighing right now.
— The Penguins have $55.541 committed to 17 players on 1-way contracts for next season.