Penguins notebook: Pens talking with Dupuis' reps
The push to keep winger Pascal Dupuis is on.
Discussion opened this week between Penguins general manager Ray Shero and agent Allan Walsh, though a deal is not close.
Dupuis, 34, is one of seven Penguins set to become an unrestricted free agent July 5.
The others are fellow wingers Matt Cooke and Craig Adams. Also in that mix are in-season additions Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, both wingers, and defensemen Douglas Murray and Mark Eaton.
Dupuis is expected to command a hefty increase in term and salary on the open market. He would like this contract to take him into retirement and projects a length of at least four years on the open market.
The Penguins never have awarded a four-year contract to a player in his 30s since Shero took control in May 2006. However, they did sign Cooke, then 30, for three years in July 2010.
Dupuis twice has re-signed with the Penguins since joining them via a trade in February 2008. Each time he inked two-year contracts — the first at a $1.4 million annual salary, the last one coming with a $1.5 million annual salary.
Since signing that last deal, though, Dupuis has become the preferred right winger for captain Sidney Crosby. He has averaged 20 goals over the last four seasons, including scoring 45 the past two campaigns.
Figuring out where things stand with Dupuis is the Penguins' top priority before the NHL Entry Draft, scheduled for Newark's Prudential Center on June 30.
Shero also expects to have opened discussions by then with agent Kent Hughes, who represents defenseman Kris Letang.
Shero and Hughes had not talked as of Tuesday morning. Discussions were expected to be held Wednesday.
Letang, 26, has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $3.5 million annually.
The labor contract between the NHL and Players' Association allows players to sign new contracts with their teams — at a maximum length of eight years — at any point in the final year of current deal.
Shero, who will attend general manager meetings in Boston on Wednesday, said last week that he would “like to keep (Letang) here.”
Team USA update
The NHL has not yet committed to sending its players to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
USA Hockey is moving ahead, anyway.
The coach for the men's Olympic hockey team is expected to be announced June 29, according to a report by Canada's Sportsnet.
Officials from USA Hockey declined comment.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is a leading candidate for the post. He was not available for comment.
Shero is on the USA Hockey advisory board. He had not been asked about running the 2014 Olympics squad as of last week.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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