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: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 6
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 34
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 23
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 36
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 20
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Wilson signs with Preds, leaving just four arbitration cases to go 5
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million 62
- Deal with the Devils: New Jersey re-signs Larsson to six-year contract 14
- Post expansion, could NHL realign with eight divisions? (138)
- He’s baaaaaack: Leafs pull a stunner, hire Lamoriello as GM (Updated) (84)
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)