Sources tell me Penguins management exchanged official numbers with Sergei Gonchar’s camp early last week and the Penguins are waiting to hear back from Gonchar’s agent J.P. Barry.
They are expecting a response in the next 48 hours but it appears a deal is not close and will not be agreed upon anytime soon.
The buzz coming out of the Olympics is that the Penguins are believed to have tendered an offer of three years in the range of $12.75 million – $13.05 million.
Pittsburgh has shown a willingness offer up to $5 million per season on a two year deal but Gonchar’s camp continues to seek a three or four year deal. For months the term of the contract has been a major sticking point.
Despite the Penguins window of opportunity being now and as important that Gonchar is to the Penguins, some league evaluators I’ve spoken to over the past week, believe the Penguins would be better off letting Gonchar walk than bringing him back on a three + year deal worth close to $5 million per season.
One evaluator even suggested that Pens GM Ray Shero should give close friend Dean Lombardi a call and make a “Craig Patrick” type of bold move from the early 1990’s by offering up Gonchar for Kings defenseman Jack Johnson and a high draft pick, which would give Pittsburgh three cornerstones on defense in Johnson, Kris Letang and Simon Despres for years to come.
Not to mention, clearing significant cap space to address other areas like their winger situation and adding a Dan Hamhuis type of defenseman long term.
However, any talk of the Penguins even exploring the possibility of getting something for Gonchar is moot. The Penguins focus continues to be on signing Gonchar long-term.
But, it is intriguing to think about especially when discussing it with evaluators around the league who believe there are already signs that Gonchar is losing some of his offensive ability such as losing velocity on his shot, since having shoulder surgery in 2008.