For Penguins general manager Ray Shero, what promises to be a busy summer started with today’s announcement that head coach Dan Bylsma had been granted a two-year contract extension.
Now that the coaching question is out of the way, it’s time to focus on the players. And there are plenty of tough decisions to make on that front.
“This team is going to change,” said Shero. “It happens every year with free agency, salary cap, trades. Change is sometimes good and sometimes hard.”
Pending unrestricted free agents that may or may not be back include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.
Speaking of Malkin and Letang…
“They’re both under contract for next year,” said Shero. “They’re not going anywhere.”
And the goaltending?
“I’m not getting rid of Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Shero, “provided he wants to be part of it here and come back.”
The Penguins also have Tomas Vokoun under contract next season. Fleury has two years remaining on his deal.
Shero said he’s already received calls from other general managers. He can probably expect a lot more as the June 30 draft approaches. Free agency starts on July 5.