Source: Pens hopeful to get Kennedy locked up by Mid-June
As expected it’s been a quiet week for the Penguins on the free agent front. Several members of the Penguins front office have been on various scouting trips and the Penguins have yet to establish a timetable for contract talks with any of their impending free agents on NHL contracts.
Despite being ousted from the playoffs in April, it has not led to any rush from the Penguins to engage in talks with free agency still over 6 weeks away. There is also no rush from agents to establish the market at this time either.
When it comes to dealing with their top priorities, the Penguins normally don’t engage in talks until June. Last year preliminary talks with Matt Cooke (pegged as top priority) didn’t begin until after the first week of June and serious talks with Sergei Gonchar didn’t begin until about mid-June.
This off-season, the Penguins don’t have a player of Gonchar’s stature due for free agency but when it comes to talks with their “two wildcards” pending UFA’s Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis, any kind of serious talks with both players are not expected to begin until that June timetable again.
Meanwhile, talks with Tyler Kennedy (RFA) are expected to begin much sooner. Although GM Ray Shero has yet to reach out to agent Steven Barlett, sources say the Penguins will be establishing a timetable for talks,
very soon with Kennedy.
The hope from the Penguins end is to have Kennedy’s situation resolved by mid June at the latest. Kennedy is scheduled for restricted free agency. He had a cap hit of $725,000.
Coming off a career season and establishing himself for past couple seasons as a consistent top-9 player, executives around the league believe talks will begin in that 2 year – $1.4-$1.6 million per season range.
Kennedy is not scheduled for unrestricted free agency until after the 2013-2014 season. A three year deal to buy out all of Kennedy’s arbitration years is also expected to be something that will be on the table.
Kennedy is repped by a very experienced agent in Steve Bartlett who has dealt with Ray Shero quite often in the past, negotiating a handful of deals with former Penguin Mark Eaton.
The threat of arbitration for Kennedy is always out there, an avenue where he would net over $2 million but unless the Penguins were to come in and really low ball Kennedy, that’s not something expected to be actively pursued by Kennedy’s camp.
Getting Kennedy’s situation resolved is fully expected to be the Penguins top priority over the next couple of weeks. With around $55 million already committed for next season, It’s still going to be difficult for the Penguins to bring back all three players in Pascal Dupuis, Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy back and still have a chance at adding a scoring winger in free agency.
Meanwhile, in the likes of Craig Adams, Mike Rupp and Arron Asham, the Penguins know what it’s going to cost to retain those players.
In Kennedy, Talbot and Dupuis there’s uncertainity right now.
However, what the Penguins have on their side is that they’ve created such a great environment that Talbot and Dupuis want to return in the worst way and would give the Penguins every opportunity to sign them……even if the Penguins were to go into July 1 looking at other possible options, before committing to either player.