Dear readers are probably aware that this is the time of year where the blog heats up with short posts and updates. Translation:Keep reading, knowing that I’ll post here first; also use Twitter when possible (rossi_on_pens); and for fully flushed out details you’ll want to check out the print product for next-day analysis of any moves made by the Pens. Also, if something big happens — a signing, a trade — I’ll post a breaking news story at triblive.com.
Anyway, there isn’t a lot of news concerning Ds SERGEI GONCHAR and DAN HAMHUIS, but here goes what’s been going on:
= Hamhuis spoke with GM RAY SHERO today, and Shero spoke with Hamhuis’ agent. I’ve not nailed down if contract terms were discussed, but I’m awaiting a return call from Shero, so maybe I’ll know more then. The Penguins are interested in selling Hamhuis on what they can offer, which is a long-term deal, top-pairing responsibilities and a chance to perennially contend for the Cup. That might not be good enough, as there are unconfirmed rumors that Hamhuis has his heart set on playing in Canada; but if his mind is open, he’ll find himself wanted most in Pittsburgh.
Anyway, things are moving along on that front.
= There is no change in Gonchar’s status, according to his agent. The sticking point remains term. The Penguins want to go three years. There are a lot of Internet reports about a deadline, but nobody with the Penguins has told me Gonchar has to agree to a deal by a certain date before July 1, when free agency opens at noon.
A teammate of Gonchar’s told me that Gonchar has to make up his mind on what is important to him, and that Gonchar has not done that yet. That is an interesting statement, perhaps one that indicates Gonchar is not as set on testing the market, one in which he’ll be prized, as many people have presumed.
= The Penguins are projecting slightly more than $11 million in salary-cap space for next season. Keep in mind that they like to keep at least $1 million in free space to account for possible injuries and trades.