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GM notes: Penguins on Letang; Coyotes on Tippett

by Dan Rosen /

BOSTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero is working on a contract extension with defenseman Kris Letang and hopes to have an agreement in principle in place by the NHL Draft on June 30 in Newark, N.J.

Kris Letang
Kris Letang
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 33 | PTS: 38
SOG: 95 | +/-: 16

Letang has one year remaining on his contract with a salary-cap value of $3.5 million. He was a finalist for the Norris Trophy this season after putting up 38 points in 35 games.

"I think there are certain pressure points in terms of getting a deal done and [the draft] is one of them," Shero said Wednesday after the NHL general managers met prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. "Ideally I'd like to have some sort of deal done by next week so I know what I'm doing and so I know things that might come our way, what we have. We'll see what happens with Kris in the next week. I think we'll have a much better idea of where we stand and what he's thinking."

Shero recently had a breakfast meeting with Letang's agent, Kent Hughes.

"I don't think I need five days of meetings to find out what the market value is for the player," Shero said. "I think I have a pretty decent understanding of what the market can be."

Shero said his focus is solely on negotiating a new contract for Letang.

"I'm not talking to teams about this player at all," Shero said. "I'm talking to Kris Letang's agent because my hope is to get a deal with Kris Letang. We have a number of other decisions to make as well internally, but this is one of them and an important one."

Another is potentially signing forward Pascal Dupuis to a new contract. Dupuis, who scored 20 goals for the second straight season, can become an unrestricted free agent July 5.

"Had a couple of discussions and we'll get back to them later in the week or the weekend," Shero said. "It's another important player for us that I'd like to try to retain."


Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney said legal language issues and the state of the franchise and where it will be located next season are holding up his ability to sign coach Dave Tippett to an extension.

"It's the comfort that he rightly deserves, where he's going to be coaching next year," Maloney said. "That's important and I get it. He's a very wanted commodity."

Tippett's contract expires June 30, and Maloney said his hope is to have a new deal in place by that date because he doesn't want to risk losing Tippett to another team.


"I firmly believe if it got to July there would be more than the remaining one or two jobs that are open now," Maloney said. "I'm hopeful we can get something done with Tip sooner rather than later. That's hopefully before July 1. That's my hope, but no guarantees."

Maloney said he has had conversations with the agent for goalie Mike Smith (Kurt Overhardt), but the uncertainty around Tippett and the coaching staff is what is holding up a potential contract extension. Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 5.

"We've had regular communication and I said to him, once we know that everybody is back, then we can realistically say if we're playing here, here or here, this is the staff that will be coaching you," Maloney said of Smith. "He's important to us and let's see if there is a deal there that makes sense."


Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he is still going through the process of finding a coach and he has not set a deadline for when he'd like to have one in place.

Lindy Ruff and John Tortorella are among the coaches who reportedly have interviewed for the job.

"Lots of names still to look at," Nill said. "I am not going to have a set deadline. We may wake up in two days and have a decision, but it might be another two weeks. We're going to stay in the process."

Nill said he does not have to have a coach in place by the draft.


Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said he likely will be using one of the two compliance buyouts all teams have available to them in order to provide relief with the salary cap going down to $64.3 million in 2013-14.

"Distinct possibility," Nonis said.

Speculation is it will be defenseman Mike Komisarek, who has one year remaining on a contract that carries a $4.5 million salary-cap value.

Starting 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends until prior to the start of free agency, teams have the ability to buy out as many as two healthy players for two-thirds of the remaining value of their contract spread out over double the years left. The player's salary will not count toward the team's salary cap after the buyout takes effect.

The New York Rangers (Wade Redden) and Montreal Canadiens (Scott Gomez) were each granted accelerated compliance buyouts before the 2012-13 season began and, as a result, each team has one remaining.

Nonis said he has not gotten too far into discussions with the agents for potential unrestricted free agent forwards Tyler Bozak or Clarke MacArthur.

Nonis specifically would not rule out MacArthur returning to the Maple Leafs. He had 20 points in 40 games this season and is coming off a two-year, $6.5 million contract.

"Clarke has done a good job for us," Nonis said. "I think he's a player that fits. I would not rule out bringing Clarke back."


Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster said he recently spoke with goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who said he will likely not play next season, which is in line with what the 36-year-old Finnish netminder was saying before the end of the 2012-13 regular season.

"If we had to ask him to make a decision right now, I think his decision would be what it was at the end of the season -- that he's probably finished, but it's still early in the offseason. What we talked about was that we'll be patient and we'll give him time and continue to monitor that and check in."

Feaster is trying to plan life without Kiprusoff.

He said his hope is to sign Karri Ramo to a contract in July. Ramo was part of the trade that also brought Michael Cammalleri to Calgary from the Montreal Canadiens. Feaster also talked about having Reto Berra and Joey MacDonald signed.

However, Feaster is obviously concerned about the position if Kiprusoff doesn't return.

"I think whenever you have a guy like Miikka Kiprusoff, if you're not going to have him between the pipes, I don't think you have a great comfort level," Feaster said. "We'll see how it shakes out."


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