Frenzy reports out of Pittsburgh say Ray Shero is ready to offer Marian Hossa a 7-year deal sometime this weekend. KDKA and WTAE apparently had reports but I've yet to see any type of confirmation of any such news.
Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting that Hossa is the number one free agent in the Penguins pool and that a deadline could be in place for him to accept any sort of deal, as early as after the NHL Draft next weekend. The deadline would help Shero make his next move with the other Pittsburgh free agents like Brooks Orpik and Ryan Malone.
Speaking of Opik, Rob Rossi writes:
"Orpik, praised by team officials and coaches and opponents during the Penguins' playoff run, told the Penguins he would accept less than market value for a deal of at least five seasons. Several agents speculate he will command above $4 million annually on the open market."
That's a good sign of a guy who realizes what the Penguins currently and could possess over the next few seasons. Being a Penguins homer, there's a part of me that hopes a lot of these free agents realize how special the talent currently sits in the Penguins dressing room and want to take pay cuts to keep the team together for the long haul. Of course, that's probably not reality, but a perfect situation is Ryan Malone.
Rossi also reports:
"Malone and the Penguins are believed to be far apart on a new contract. He is expected to lean toward testing the free-agent market, where the Columbus Blue Jackets will likely make a play for his services - possibly with an offer near $5 million annually over five years."
I'm not saying Malone should take peanuts to stay with the Pens, he's obviously coming off a breakout year, but pushing the envelope to go to Columbus? Really? If that's the case, then "Thanks Ryan, enjoy Buckeye Country". As always, these are just rumors and reports and we won't know for sure until contracts are signed.
UPDATE: So now the word is Hossa has been offered a 7-year, $50 milllion deal according to the Columbus Dispatch. If Hossa accepts the deal, you can say goodbye to Ryan Malone and his rights will likely be dealt to Columbus before July 1. Coming to Pittsburgh could be Dan Fristche (a RFA) or a draft-pick. The Penguins don't have a draft pick until the 4th round, (120 overall), while the Blue Jackets could probably part with their second (37) or third round pick (67).