Some quick hits, dear readers, from the hours before Round 1 of the NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles:
• I spoke with Pens GM RAY SHERO and agent JP BARRY, and each man said they will meet today to discuss the status of D SERGEI GONCHAR. Barry presented Shero with a contract proposal last weekend, but no progress has been made since. The Penguins have not set a firm deadline for a resolution with Gonchar, but they’re not going to let him hit free agency on July 1 without exploring every option to trade his rights for compensation. Gonchar has a no-trade clause.
There have been reports that dealing with Gonchar is the top offseason priority for the Penguins. That isn’t true, in that Shero has not prioritized any one potential over another.
Another misconception is that the Penguins won’t give a three-year deal to a player in his 30s. There is no truth to that, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind that maintaining roster flexibility doesn’t always make three-year deals for aging veterans the best bet.
• As of late Thursday night Shero was not planning to trade the Penguins’ first-round pick, which is the 20th overall selection.
• Agent STEVE BARTLETT, who represents D MARK EATON, plans to meet with Shero this weekend. Eaton is slated to test free agency.
• LW MATT COOKE, who signed a three-year contract that totals $5.4 million early in the week, had a limited movement clause worked into that deal.