Although negotiations over the weekend between Penguins GM Ray Shero and J.P. Barry the agent for Sergei Gonchar, didn’t lead to any kind of movement towards a new deal, the Penguins are not ready to break off negotiations with Gonchar’s camp.
“We are not even close to turning our focus in another direction, ” a team source told me this afternoon.
A meeting in person between Shero and J.P. Barry is expected to happen in Los Angeles as Gonchar’s camp waits on Shero.
Parameters between the two sides were discussed at length late last week with the the Penguins proposing a two year deal worth slightly more than $10 million, according to a league source.
The Penguins value Gonchar as a $5 million a year player for two more seasons but the third year remains a major sticking point in talks.
Gonchar’s camp has countered with a multi-year proposal that would pay Gonchar roughly $11.5 million through the first two years of the deal.
Those inside Gonchar’s corner believe Gonchar has at least three, maybe even four years left to play at a high level.
When discussing Gonchar’s presence among the top offensive defensemen over the past 10 years, a contact in Gonchar’s camp compared him to Detroit’s Nik Lidstrom.
“He and Lidstrom are in a class of their own.”
To this point Gonchar’s camp has expressed little if any interest in signing a two year deal before exploring the market.
No negotiations took place between the two sides on Monday or today. Word out of Gonchar’s camp is that Pittsburgh holds the next move as the two sides will get together on Thursday.
The Penguins have yet to move on Gonchar’s proposal in either direction but have not completely ruled out going three years.
Those inside the organization say the mindset of the Penguins hockey operations staff is that the Penguins have a three year window to deliver another championship with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal at the helm.
One source emphatically denied that the Penguins have reached the stage where they are considering the possibility of shopping Gonchar’s rights.