The Pittsburgh Penguins did not make a qualifying offer to winger Tyler Kennedy.
Kennedy is now set to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday. The move is a surprise from the standpoint that the Penguins did not look to move Kennedy during draft weekend, according to sources.
Those close to the situation said on Saturday that there was a “good faith effort” from both sides but the two sides could not find common ground today as the deadline loomed.
The Penguins were interested in doing a one year deal and discuss a long-term deal at a later time next season but Kennedy’s camp has had no interest in any deal under two years.
Reportedly, GM Ray Shero on Thursday told the Post-Gazette that he would make Kennedy a qualifying offer by the weekend.
However, as the 5:00 p.m. deadline inched closer without a qualifying offer being made, Kennedy’s camp had no intention to come off their demands as talks this afternoon were “on-going” between the two sides.
Sources say Kennedy is seeking a 2 year deal worth slightly more than $4.5 million from the Penguins. Those in Kennedy’s camp are said to believe that Kennedy will land a multi-year deal on the open market, possibly in the three to four year range.
The Penguins now could lose a 24 year old winger who scored 21 goals last season for nothing, if a deal is not reached before Friday. A deal remains up in the air but is still possible as the two sides expect to keep in touch and hold contract discussions leading up to July 1.
Neither side is ruiling out an agreement before July 1 but for a deal to happen, it’s going to have to be a multi-year deal now.
Indications are the Penguins feel if they qualified Kennedy, this situation would have dragged on well into July. The team made it clear to Kennedy’s camp weeks ago, that they would not entertain the idea of arbitration.