Penguins scouts and staffers have begun to gather at a hotel in northern New Jersey to prepare for the NHL draft Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark.
They will spend the next few days fine-tuning their prospects lists for the final time and probably discussing the merits of trade proposals that would allow the Penguins to make a selection earlier than the third round, which is the case at the moment.
But one of the most significant personnel decisions facing general manager Ray Shero and his staff -- the choice of a goaltending coach to succeed Gilles Meloche, who is moving into a pro-scouting role -- isn't likely to get all that much attention the next few days.
Shero and coach Dan Bylsma had a preliminary conversation about Meloche's replacement earlier this week and likely will discuss it again, but it isn't expected to become a front-burner issue until next week.
"We haven't really gotten into it too much," Shero said. "We've got a lot of applicants, so we'll start to sort through them.
"This isn't something that's going to take place before the draft or anything like that."
He said the Penguins have received more than 25 applications from viable candidates -- "Guys with legitimate experience, in terms of what you're looking for and what they're going to bring" -- but have not settled on the precise qualities they will be seeking.
"I want to sit down with Dan and talk about this further," Shero said. "Obviously, we've been on to other things."
There might be at least one other reason to put off the decision: As Shero noted, "If we wait until after July 1, maybe there's another applicant or two who's currently employed" (but will become available when his contract expires).
What picks are in play?
Barring a trade, the Penguins will have six choices in Sunday's draft.
They include two in the third (Nos. 77 and 89 overall) and sixth (Nos. 164 and 179 overall) rounds, as well as Nos. 119 and 209.
They traded their first-rounder to Calgary for Jarome Iginla, their second-rounder to San Jose for Douglas Murray and their fifth-rounder to Dallas for Brenden Morrow, while getting a No. 3 from the Stars in the Morrow deal and a sixth-rounder from Winnipeg in the Eric Tangradi trade.
The pick from the Jets initially was a seventh-rounder, but was bumped up to a No. 6 when Tangradi met a games-played condition.
No news on negotiations
Wednesday appeared to be pretty uneventful on the negotiating front for the Penguins.
Kevin Hughes, who represents defenseman Kris Letang, did not respond to an email about his talks with Shero, and a couple of his peers didn't say much about their ongoing negotiations, either.
Pascal Dupuis' agent, Allan Walsh: "Nothing new to report, ongoing discussions."
Pat Morris, who represents Matt Cooke: "Nothing new."
Letang has one year remaining on his contract, while Dupuis and Cooke will be unrestricted free agents if they are not re-signed by July 5.
Exhibition slate set
The Penguins will play six exhibition games this fall, with one each at home and on the road against Columbus, Chicago and Detroit.
Sept. 15 -- at Columbus, 6 p.m.; Sept. 16 -- Detroit, at Consol Energy Center, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19 -- at Chicago, TBA; Sept. 21 -- Columbus, at Consol Energy Center, 4 p.m.; Sept. 23 -- Chicago, at Consol Energy Center, 7 p.m.; Sept. 25 -- at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Three make the cut
Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen and Penguins alums Jarkko Ruutu and Janne Pesonen are among the 54 players invited to Finland's pre-Olympic training camp
Jokinen had seven goals and four assists in 10 regular-season games with the Penguins after being acquired from Carolina shortly before the NHL trade deadline.
The Hurricanes were scheduled to receive a conditional draft choice, but the Penguins did not advance far enough in the Stanley Cup playoffs to compel them to surrender it.
Jokinen has one year remaining on his contract, with a salary cap hit of $2.1 million.
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG.