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Insider Only Penguins haven’t ruled out extending an offer to Ponikarovsky before July 1

The writing has been on the wall that Alexei Ponikarovsky’s time in Pittsburgh will likely end up being short stint. Like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Penguins have no interest in meeting Ponikarovsky’s demands of a four year deal, which is what he sought from the Leafs, according to GM Brian Burke.
However, as the Penguins are finishing up their organizational meetings this week, word out of Penguins headquarters is that the team has not completely closed the door on making an attempt to retain Ponikarosky.
According to one team source, the Penguins intend to talk “specifics” with Ponikarovsky’s camp in early-to-mid June as contract talks with potential free agents will heat up leading into the NHL draft.
The two sides had a brief discussion late last weekend and have agreed to touch base in the coming weeks.
Ponikarovsky, 29, made a salary of $2.5 million last season and his struggles with the Penguins likely won’t plummet his value on the open market.

He remains one of the more attractive free agents due to a poor group of wingers set to test free agency.
The Penguins valued Ponikarovsky highly when the team traded prospect Luca Caputi for him last March.
“I didn’t think this was a deal we’d be able to do. If you’d have told me we could do it a few days ago, I’d have said no way,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said at the time. “This gives us a chance to be a good team again. I was happy with our team. We didn’t have to take anything off our team.”
“Luca was the guy they wanted,” Shero said. “We had a long discussion internally. That was not a guy we wanted to trade or looked to trade. But at the end of the day Poni was that guy (that we wanted).”
Word out of the organization is that the Penguins were pleased with Ponikarovsky’s play all the way up until the second round.
I’ve been hearing that there’s been a lot of excuses being made for Ponikarovsky subpar play, pointing to the fact that injuries hampered his continuity with the likes of Malkin and I’ve had people close to organization point out to me that it took Marian Hossa until the second round of the playoffs to make his mark with the Penguins.
Pittsburgh liked Ponikarovsky enough before trading for him, that their not going to just let him test free agency without at least having some talks with his representatives to see where their mindset is.
The Penguins I’m told would be open to going 2 years in the range of $2.5 – $2.75 million per season to retain Ponikarovsky.
Wingers UFA’s
1. Ilya Kovalchuk 26 NJ $7,500,000
2. Paul Kariya 34 STL $6,000,000
3. Alexander Frolov 27 LA $4,000,000
4. Pavol Demitra 34 VAN $4,000,000
5. Vyacheslav Kozlov 38 ATL $3,850,000
6. Ray Whitney 38 CAR $3,550,000
7. Fredrik Modin 34 LA $3,500,000
8. Lee Stempniak 26 PHO $3,500,000
9. Raffi Torres 27 BUF $2,750,000
10. Alex Tanguay 29 TB $2,500,000
11. Owen Nolan 37 MIN $2,750,000
12. Alexei Ponikarovsky 29 PIT $2,500,000
13. Scott Walker 36 WASH $2,500,000
14. Fernando Pisani 32 EDM $2,500,000
15. Marek Svatos 27 COL $2,350,000
16. Darcy Tucker 34 COL $2,300,000
Colby Armstrong, ATL, $2,300,000
17. Tomas Holmstrom 36 DET $2,250,000
18. Teemu Selanne 39 ANA $2,000,000
19. Bill Guerin 39 PIT $2,000,000
20. Ruslan Fedotenko 31 PIT $1,800,000
21. Petr Sykora 32 MIN $1,600,000
22. Jere Lehtinen 36 DAL $1,500,000
23. Todd Bertuzzi 34 DET $1,500,000
24. Jamal Mayers 34 CAL $1,400,000
25. Derek Boogaard 27 MIN $1,250,000
26. Matt Cooke 30 PIT $1,200,000
27. Jon Sim 31 NYI $1,000,000
28. Mark Recchi 42 BOS $1,000,000
29. Christoph Schubert 27 ATL $900,000
30. Steve Begin 31 BOS $850,000
31. Brad Winchester 28 STL $800,000
32 Richard Park 34 NYI $800,000
33. Eric Nystrom 26 CAL $775,000
34. Kirk Maltby 36 DET $750,000
35. Stephane Veilleux 27 TB $750,000
36. Aaron Asham, 31, $640,000.
37. Shawn Thornton 31 BOS $550,000
38. Tim Jackman 27 NYI $550,000
39. Brandon Bochenski 27 TB $550,000
40. Brian McGrattan 27 CAL $547,000

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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