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Pens Have Decisions to Make with Free Agents

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins general manager Ray Shero is all business right now. The ink wasn’t dry on Kris Letang’s eight-year, $58-million contract extension when Shero struck a deal with Pascal Dupuis for a four-year, $15-million contract.

Next on his agenda is working on contract extensions with the Penguins upcoming unrestricted free agents, namely Matt Cooke and Craig Adams.

“With Cooke, it’s ongoing, but we need to know, they need to know,” Shero said. “We’ll see where that heads tonight and (Wednesday). We can go in one direction or depending on a phone call, go in a different direction.

“We’ll be in touch with Craig as well. I had a conversation with him a week ago. We’ll see how this lines up, who might come back, who might not. We’ll see what Craig wants to do.”

In an added twist, this is no normal year for free agency. On Wednesday, free agents to be will be able to start negotiating with other teams even though free agency doesn’t start until Friday. It was an added wrinkle to the current collective bargaining agreement.

On the restricted free agent front, the Penguins have extended qualifying offers to Dustin Jeffrey and Robert Bortuzzo. Since Pittsburgh owns their rights, those negotiations will be put off until another time.

“There’s no rush on that,” Shero said. “Once we get through free agency we’ll get to that.”

Shero’s immediate concern is on working out deals for his upcoming unrestricted free agents.

“It’s busy, a lot going on,” Shero said. There are a lot of decisions to make. That’s a big part of the job, making those decisions.”

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