Tuesday’s Pens Tidbits
— A lot depends on who the Penguins resign and bring in through free agency but I’m told Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill informed Ryan Craig and his agent Craig Oster during discussions over the past couple weeks that the Penguins feel Craig could win a final forward spot out of training camp and go into camp among the Penguins top-15 forwards on the depth chart.
— Brett Sterling led the Baby Pens with 53 points last season and scored 3 goals in 7 NHL games last season, however, it’s still unclear whether the Penguins will make an offer (2-way) to Sterling before July 1. The team is said to have some interest in retaining Sterling but there’s been no contract talks to this point between Botterill and Sterling’s agent Allain Roy.
— The Penguins have had discussions with Kurt Overhardt, the agent for 27 year old winger Chris Conner , sources say.
Conner is seeking a 1-way contract but don’t rule out Conner returning just yet on a two-way deal with a bump in pay from his $550,000 salary at the NHL level in 2010-2011.
Head coach Dan Bylsma is said to be vouching for Conner to return and there is some intrigue from Conner in returning. The belief has been that Conner would wait to see who returns and what type of role he would have before showing much interest in a two-way deal.
Conner, 27, had 7 goals and 16 points in 60 games last season.
— The Penguins are leaving the door open for enforcer Eric Godard to return. His return though is still considered unlikely and the team is expected to let him test free agency.
There has been some brief discussions between the two sides and the Penguins have informed Godard’s camp that Godard’s return will be dictated by how much cap space the Penguins have available.
The Penguins have basically told Godard’s agent “we’ll get back to you closer to July 1”. (when the Penguins have a better idea on their cap situation)
Pittsburgh remains a believer in having an NHL heavyweight at the “forward” position on their roster. It’s not clear whether Godard has any interest in taking a paycut from his $750,000 salary.