The Latest Insider Report, including updates on Sergei Gonchar, Mark Eaton. Plus a update on the latest contract talk between Jordan Staal and the Penguins.

The parameters of an extension for Jordan Staal is centering around a three to four year deal. Some believe a deal will be struck before the new year. The two sides are expected to pickup negotiations this week when Staal’s agent will be in town. A source close to the negotiations has indicated the Penguins currently have a four year offer on the table believed to be in the range of $12.75M – $13.25M. The current offer would pay Jordan Staal $5 million annually in the 4th year of the deal according to a source. The Penguins are open to a longer deal but to this point Staal‚Äôs representatives still appear set on a shorter term deal than what Crosby and Malkin signed for. I’m hearing Staal’s representatives prefer a three year deal.
Ever since the Penguins organizational meeting between some front office members and the coaching staff following the Penguins 4-1 loss, Kris Letang has been giving more of a green light to jump up into the play.
As expected the Penguins are being very quiet on Marc Andre Fleury’s injury. Many around the Penguins locker room are speculating that Fleury has a groin injury and will likely be held out of the next two games. Fleury should be able to play by the weekend.
Sergei Gonchar began rehabbing two weeks ago and things are going very well right now. Gonchar is hopeful to be back at the beginning of March at the latest to prepare himself for hopefully a long playoff run
There has been a bit of a rift about what to do with Mark Eaton. Nothing major but the coaching staff has been very critical of Eaton while there was pressure from the front office last week to keep him in the lineup over Daryl Sydor was performing better.
I found it interesting that Ray Shero recently had a quote in one of the local newspapers indicating Eaton is a top four defenseman on this team when healthy. Shero is very high on Eaton as evident of the 2 yr – $4M deal Eaton signed within hours of the first day of free agency. I may be looking too much into this right now but I can see a situation happening where Alex Goligoski becomes the odd man out when Ryan Whitney comes back at full strength.
Petr Sykora a free agent at the end of the season is very interested in re-signing with the Penguins but it is unlikely that Sykora will get the three deal he seeks from the Penguins. Through 14 games this season Sykora has 3 goals – 8 assists – 11 pts.