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Window opens for Pens, NHL to court free agents

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:33 p.m.

General manager Ray Shero has had a busy month since the Penguins were swept from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

He has agreed on terms for new contracts with coach Dan Bylsma and his staff, center Evgeni Malkin, left winger Chris Kunitz and defenseman Kris Letang.

As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Shero was able to start negotiating — though not finalizing — deals with other clubs' players set to become free agents Friday.

“The way I see this happening is we're waiting to hear back on our guys, and one phone call from them could change things in a different direction,” Shero said.

Shero has presented contract proposals left winger Matt Cooke and forward Craig Adams, though he declined to divulge terms of the Penguins' offers.

Each of those players can meet and/or speak with interested clubs for the next two days.

This free-agent window is part of the labor contract agreed to by the NHL and its Players' Association in January.

In other roster-related developments:

• The Penguins have not held negotiations with wingers Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow or defensemen Douglas Murray and Mark Eaton.

• Players tendered qualifying offers before Tuesday's deadline were forward Dustin Jeffrey, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and winger Harry Zolnierczyk. Also, these prospects: goalie Eric Hartzell and forwards Paul Thompson, Brian Gibbons, Zach Sill and Riley Holzapfel.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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