Considering the lull between the conference final and the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been a primary topic of discussion on the national stage. Facing the fallout of a sweep in the East Final, the team's upper management held meetings on Tuesday to discuss the organization's direction for the future.
Pittsburgh has several players scheduled to hit the unrestricted free agent market this July, but the expiring contracts of Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have taken priority. Based upon a report from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday evening, Pittsburgh hopes to come to terms with Malkin on a long-term extension prior to the start of free agency on July 5. From there, the team will look to deal with their unrestricted free agents, notably, Pascal Dupuis.
While Rossi doesn't explicitly mention this option, he notes that a no-movement clause in Malkin's contract becomes active on July 5. In the event that a deal can't be agreed to, GM Ray Shero could trade Malkin before the clause kicks in, similar to the situation with Jordan Staal at last year's draft.
However, Penguins' ownership has instructed Shero to keep Malkin at 'any cost.' That cost will apparently be in the $10 million per season range, according to Rossi. Shero met with Malkin's agent J.P. Barry on Monday.
In addition to discussing player personnel, the topic of head coach Dan Bylsma was also on the docket. Shero expressed his confidence in Bylsma and requested permission to begin discussions on an extension. The general manager isn't the only one in the coach's corner, as both Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby "endorsed" his return during their exit interviews on Sunday.
Shero is scheduled to give his end-of-season press conference at 11 a.m., ET on Wednesday.