MONTREAL -- The Penguins would like to re-sign Ruslan Fedotenko.
Fedotenko seems interested in returning.
That's a good start on negotiations but does not guarantee they will be able to settle on a contract.
Asked last evening if there is reason for optimism that he can re-sign Fedotenko, general manager Ray Shero responded, "It's hard to say."
Shero met with Fedotenko's agent, Allan Walsh, here yesterday. "We made it clear we'd like to have him back," Shero said.
"We had a good discussion," Walsh said, but he did not elaborate.
Fedotenko, signed as a free agent from the New York Islanders last July, made $2,250,000 on a one-year deal. He will be eligible for unrestricted free agency again if not signed before July 1.
There seems to be significant interest in Fedotenko around the league, especially in the wake of his strong performance at left wing on Evgeni Malkin's line during the Penguins' Stanley Cup run.
The Penguins have $48.6 million in salary-cap space committed to 15 players for the 2009-10 season. The cap ceiling for next season is supposed to be announced in the next few days, but the Penguins are proceeding as if they expect it to be around $56.7 million, or perhaps slightly higher, for the second year in a row.
Walsh also represents wingers Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan, two other unrestricted-free-agents-to-be. The Penguins seem certain to let Satan walk and might opt against offering Sykora a contract, but Shero again declined to say which players he will not make an effort to retain.
Shero has discussed a contract for veteran right winger Bill Guerin with agent Bob Murray and said he would like to get something done before July 1, although that will not necessarily happen. Guerin likely would have to accept a one-year deal and a significant reduction in the $4.5 million he made in 2008-09 to make his return workable for the Penguins.
Although some big-name players (or their negotiating rights) -- Dany Heatley, Vincent Lecavalier, Jay Bouwmeester, Ryane Clowe and Tomas Kaberle -- have figured prominently in trade discussions leading up to Round 1 of the entry draft tonight at the Bell Centre, apparently the Penguins have not been involved in those talks.
"We're not looking to trade anybody," Shero said, adding that he is not interested in making a trade simply to free salary-cap space.