Jul 4, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT
Matt Cooke‘s days as a Penguin could be numbered.
With the start of free agency just a day away, it appears Cooke — who has been with the Pittsburgh organization since 2008 — isn’t close to a new deal.
As such, he’s primed to hit the open market and, according to Pens GM Ray Shero, it’s tough to see the veteran winger coming back if that happens.
“Most guys, if they get [to unrestricted free agency], there’s more money, or they want a change,” Shero told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Cooke, 34, has enjoyed a career revival in Pittsburgh.
After a number of violent on-ice incidents — the Marc Savard hit and two suspensions in 2011, including the entire opening playoff round — Cooke vowed to change his game and did exactly that during the 2011-12 season.
He went incident-free, racked up just 44 PIM (he had 129 the year prior) and, perhaps most impressively, scored a career-high 19 goals — all at the age of 33.
As such, Cooke will probably garner considerable interest on the open market, even with his spotty history.
Shero said he spoke with Cooke’s agent, Pat Morris, a few weeks ago to exchange ideas about a new deal.
Problem is, the Pens don’t have a ton of space under the salary cap — approximately $4 million — a number expected to change with the qualifying offers out to defenseman Roberto Bortuzzo and forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Harry Zolnierczyk.
Shero also told the Post-Gazette he expected Cooke to “go out, look around, and see what’s there,” in free agency.
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 12
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 16
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 77
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 17
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 14
- Bruins are talking to teams about Savard, but not Rask 13
- Report: Richards part of police investigation 46
- UFA of the Day: Mike Green 4
- Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated) 8
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (77)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)