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Insider Only 10:09 p.m. – Pens don’t make late push to engage in talks with Gonchar

Latest Updates on Guerin, Hamhuis, Leopold, Fedotenko
Free agency is just over 14 hours away and Sergei Gonchar will enter free agency, likely ending his five year tenure with the Penguins.
As it’s been well documented for the past 7-to-10 days, there has been no movement towards a new deal. There were also no concessions made from the Penguins end who have offered a two year deal worth slightly under $10 million.
We’re told Gonchar’s camp was not against at least negotiating a two year deal that matched Gonchar’s salary ($5.5 million) from 09-10 but the Penguins never moved off their proposal.
Therefore, contract talks have been at a stalemate since Monday afternoon and there was not even a late push from Shero to engage in talks with Gonchar’s camp today.
“All quiet for today, ” J.P. Barry the agent for Sergei Gonchar told Inside Pittsburgh Sports, shortly after 9:00 p.m.
Gonchar will explore his options in free agency, although Pittsburgh will still remain an option.
Interest in Gonchar is expected to be extremely high especially from playoff contenders looking to make that next jump.
Sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues are among 4-to-5 teams expected to pursue Gonchar aggressively when the clock strikes noon tomorrow.
More Pens Free Agency Buzz
*Although a deal is not close with Jordan Leopold as of this evening, if the Penguins sign a defenseman before free agency begins, all signs point towards Leopold being that guy.
As we reported earlier, the Penguins efforts are moving into Leopold’s direction. There’s a mutual interest from both sides in trying to get something done. Pens GM Ray Shero and Ben Hankinson the agent for Leopold are scheduled to talk in the morning.
* I exchanged a few emails earlier today with Stephen Bartlett the agent for Mark Eaton.

Bartlett confirmed that discussions have been on-going but said there will be “no news from their end today.” Bartlett didn’t sound optimistic that a deal will be stuck before free agency begins. One thing to consider is that when the Penguins turned their attention to Mark Eaton in 2008, he signed quicky.
*Dan Hamhuis camp remains quiet as 9:30 p.m. this evening. Discussions continued today but there has been no indication that Hamhuis is prepared to push forward in talks.
I’m told the Hamhuis camp are saying the right things that Pittsburgh is a top contender for Dan’s services. Whether they’re just trying to keep Pittsburgh in the running remains to be seen.
*Billy Guerin will give Pittsburgh the first opportunity to match any offers but if the right deal comes along from a contender, Guerin will move on it we’re told.
*Rick Curran the agent for Alexei Ponikarovsky expects a strong market for his client. Los Angeles, Nashville, and Atlanta regarded as the most interested teams.
*Look for Minnesota to give Ruslan Fedotenko a look. They offered him a two year deal last off-season and tried to trade for his rights last year.
One league executive believes Fedotenko will land with the New York Islanders again.

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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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