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Early draft-day update


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.

— Rossi




Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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