DETROIT - JUNE 12: General manager Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1 to win Game Seven and the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Of course, the Kris Letang contract negotiations/trade rumors/speculation/mudslinging festival continues.
Today, Ray Shero commented on the whole thing. From Penguins.NHL.com:
“There is a time to make a deal, time to sign a contract, agree on a contract or not agree on a contract,” Shero said. “There is a point in the negotiation where you have to make a decision. Kris is going to have to make one and so am I.
“I don’t have the crystal ball and I don’t know what will happen over the next 24 hours. We’ll see how the next day and a half goes. Both sides have to make some decisions. We’ll go from there.”
But Shero said the two sides didn’t have “more distance” as the negotiations have progressed. He also noted that even if a deal isn’t reached in the next few days, the team won’t necessarily trade Letang, which has been widely speculated in the media.
“That doesn’t mean if we don’t agree on a contract that he’s getting traded,” Shero said. “There’s no guarantee. Maybe you need a little break to see where it takes you.”
Other NHL teams have reached out to Shero regarding Letang’s rights. However, he isn’t entertaining any offers at this time.
“I can’t try to sign a guy and try to trade him at the same time. I’m going to try to sign him,” Shero said. “I’ve had a couple teams inquire. They read the paper. They ask to keep them in mind. I haven’t explored any of that. I don’t think that’s productive at this point. Our goal is to sign him.”
Of course, that sounds incredibly familiar:
Shero didn't get into specifics but made his intentions clear. Teams are inquiring daily about Staal, Shero said, but he remains uninterested in any offer.
“People read the newspapers and so maybe they think he's available,” Shero said. “That stuff is all speculation. I have made it clear to every team that has asked. I don't want to trade Jordan. I'm not listening to offers. I want Jordan here. I want him here for a long time, and that's what I'm going to try to do.”
Shero passionately maintains that he is completely invested in signing Staal, who is getting married Friday.
Attempting to orchestrate a trade while simultaneously working out a contract for Staal would be disingenuous, according to Shero.
“You can't have it both ways,” Shero said. “I can't try to negotiate a contract with Jordan and a trade with another team at the same time. It doesn't work that way. We don't want to trade Jordan. We think we can sign him.”
Almost an identical quote there from Shero. That article about Staal is from June 19, 2012. Staal was traded on June 22nd.
Does it mean anything? Not necesarily, but it does show that just because Ray Shero says he doesn't want to trade someone, it doesn't mean he still won't trade someone. It also shows that Ray Shero may want to create a few new "I don't want to trade him, I want to sign him" quotes.
On a related note, here's a very good Letang piece from Brian Metzer.
Letang’s price isn’t his greed so much as market value. It isn’t he that set the standard for defenseman wages in the National Hockey League, it is the fact that plenty of average defensemen have cracked the $4 or even $5 million plateau, with the upper echelon making upwards of $8 million. Letang is a lot closer to the upper echelon that he is the average tier and that is why he fancies himself a $7.5 million dollar player.
This isn’t a greedy player situation. This is a situation in which a player simply wants what his market value has been set at by said market.
The draft is tomorrow. Buckle up.