Two sides entering crucial week of talks
Contract Talks between Penguins GM Ray Shero and J.P. Barry the agent for Sergei Gonchar are past the preliminary stages and have intensified in the past 72 hours, according to multiple team sources.
Negotiations are expected to continue throughout this weekend as numbers have been discussed and exchanged as of Friday of this week.
I’m told that the two sides are entering a crucial week of talks as a deadline is expected to be set for June 25th regarding a decision from Gonchar on whether to test free agency.
Pens GM Ray Shero has implemented similar deadlines with other top free agent targets such as Marian Hossa in June 2008.
It remains widely expected that Gonchar will test free agency and explore his options first before making a decision on returning to Pittsburgh.
Assuming the two sides are unable to strike a deal by next weekend, it’s unlikely that the Penguins will look to trade Gonchar’s rights.
Gonchar is expected to give the Penguins every chance to re-sign him and come close to matching offers if he hits the open market.
A surprising development is that prior to contract talks breaking off between the two sides at the Olympic break, Pittsburgh made one official offer — a one year deal worth close to $6 million per season, a source in Gonchar’s camp confirmed.
Gonchar, 36, is looking to play at least another 3-to-4 years.