Could the Pittsburgh Penguins have enough cap space to sign two impact defensemen this off-season and still retain the reliable Mark Eaton?
While the Penguins top priorities remain Dan Hamhuis and Sergei Gonchar, Pens GM Ray Shero has been engaged in discussions with Mark Eaton’s agent Stephen Bartlett in recent days.
With free agency less than 48 hours away, Bartlett tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports that while nothing appears imminent, the two sides have been in contact this week.
“Nothing major, just some ongoing discussions, ” Bartlett told Inside Pittsburgh Sports.
A Pens source says Shero has talked extensively with Bartlett and even spoke to Mark Eaton in recent days on trying to sell him on the idea of returning at a reduced rate and what could be a reduced role.
The Penguins I’m told could be willing to go three years for a low cap hit in the $1 million range.
The Penguins have full intentions of adding two impact defenseman but have not closed the door on Eaton.
Eaton, 33, has a strong loyalty to the Penguins and Shero. Bartlett told me at this time no decision has been made regarding Eaton’s plans for free agency.
It has been widely believed that he will hit the open market.