Penguins general manager Ray Shero addresses Jagr rumors and talks about his free agents, and updates on the Canadiens possible free agent defenseman signings.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari reports Penguins GM Ray Shero has had a few conversations with the agents for his pending free agents, and while negotiations probably won’t begin in earnest until after the Penguins June 6-8 pro scout meetings, he wouldn’t rule out a possible signing or two before then.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Rob Rossi reports it’s possible salary cap circumstances could prevent restricted free agent Tyler Kennedy from returning with the Penguins, though Shero said he’d like to re-sign him. Shero noted impending RFAs often are traded rather than be extended a qualifying offer that would start the process toward arbitration if a contract isn’t reached. He said he’s told Kennedy he wants to re-sign him but said that he also wanted to re-sign Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi (two former Penguins who were lost to the UFA market) too.
Rossi and Molinari also reported Shero addressed reports linking the Penguins with Jaromir Jagr, saying they haven’t discussed internally the possibility of signing him, adding he “didn’t know where this came from”. The Penguins have extended an invitation for Jagr to attend an alumni golf tournament this summer but that has been the extent of their contact with him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumors of a possible return of Jagr to the Penguins next season has been stirred up by Jagr himself, who’s been playfully suggesting he could return to the NHL next season and naming the Penguins as a potential destination if he’s unable to land a new contract with a KHL team. Some folks have taken his comments, combined it with the alumni invitation, and believe it could lead to his triumphant return as a Penguins player next season. While I won’t fully dismiss that possibility, I also consider it very remote. As for Kennedy, Shero’s comments doesn’t exactly give me a warm, fuzzy feeling that he’ll be re-signed. Not that it couldn’t happen, but Shero seems to be saying that if Kennedy isn’t willing to re-sign for an affordable deal, he’ll be shopped.
THE GLOBE & MAIL: Sean Gordon reports the Montreal Canadiens signing Russian defenseman Alexei Emelin to a one-year contract is being seen by some as an indication of GM Pierre Gauthier’s intentions regarding pending UFA Andrei Markov, which could also end their interest in re-signing UFA James Wisniewski, and carries ominous signs for Brent Sopel and Roman Hamrlik.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports Markov and RFA Josh Gorges are next up for negotiations. Markov and Gauthier have expressed mutual interest in getting a deal done, but his recent injury history could be reflected in the length of the deal. Hickey also feels re-signing Gorges to a multi-year deal with a healthy raise above the $1.1 million he made this season shouldn’t be a problem. He feels Wisniewski and Sopel won’t be back but it’s possible Hal Gill and/or Roman Hamrlik could be for the right price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markov and Gorges will be back, and I believe Gill will be too. Wisniewski could be “Plan B” in what appears to be an increasingly unlikely event Markov isn’t resigned, but I think Hamrlik and Sopel are goners.