June 23, 2013 7:13 pm

Lombardi on contract negotiations, Mitchell’s status

On whether any progress has been made in contract negotiations with Rob Scuderi:
“No, but we’re going to continue to plug away on that. I mean, obviously since the season ended, we’ve tried four things going at once. At least this is now done, and this was a huge issue. We got Voynov done, and we’ve continued to talk to Scuderi. At least, again we’ll keep trying here. I think we all would love to have him back, but as we say, with the cap coming down, it’s all about making things fit. It’s not about our desire to have the player. At least now, with this off our plate, and we know we’ve got a pretty good handle on our space – [and] the other thing too, don’t forget, at least getting Frattin and Scrivens up, now we know the price. You talk about the other thing, it also gives us a little more certainty on how aggressive we can be. So I’m glad to have closure on this, and we know where we stand as far as these other holes, which clearly defined in most cases what we’re going to have left to get under the cap. So it’s probably fair to say that our first call will be back to Rob here this week.”

On whether he has any indication on Dustin Penner’s intentions:
“He’d be another one, too. Actually I had a feeling-out with his agent here recently. Again, the fact that this is done now and we have these holes filled, we know the price, that it also helps us have a little certainly in how we approach some of these players. Like I said, it’s very difficult to try and juggle this with this cap coming down under these circumstances and our players all coming up. We wouldn’t have had this problem if the cap was the same. But, it is what it is. So, he’d be another one that I’ve already had a discussion with his agent. I’ve got to let the dust clear here and see what we’ve got.”

On whether it is important to re-sign Penner before free agency opens or whether the team would like Penner to “explore what’s out there and see what the market value is”:
“I really don’t think we’re faced with that now. It’s all about fitting in. So what the market says isn’t really going to drive this right now. It’s going to be about space. So, actually, I’d kind of take that out of the equation. So many times it’s just what you asked. ‘What’s he worth? What’s he worth?’ It really doesn’t matter. It’s all about fitting this in, and it is what it is. That’s just the long and short of it. If a guy’s worth X out in the marketplace, it’s not going to matter if you ain’t got the space.”

On how Willie Mitchell’s 3.5 million dollar cap hit affects the team’s plans:
“That’s also added to the dilemma, right? On the one hand, this is the first time in the last couple weeks where everything has been positive on Willie, in terms of his progress. But, yeah, it kind of circles around out there because it’s hard enough making decisions when you have all the facts. In this case, and in so many of these cases, we’re making decisions based upon assumptions we might think will be facts two months from now. So this job is hard enough when you’ve got all the facts and lord knows you guys remind us when we mess up. Now we have to make some of these decisions on assumptions that might or might not be the case, and that’s just the way it is with Willie. I mean, we all know how good a player this guy is, how instrumental he is, his fit with his partner there, Voynov. And now, like I said, all the indications are positive in terms of his health. But that could change tomorrow. I can’t give you a definitive answer; it’s a moving target. But, every time we do something now we have to put that off to the side and say ‘OK, if we give this player this, and bring this player here, and if Willie comes back this is what happens, if he doesn’t come back this happens. Again, all I can say is it’s definitely a consideration every time we make a decision here right now, and it’s not easy.”

On contract negotiations with Bud Holloway:
“Yeah, we’re still plugging away. That’s the way negotiations go – they can get hot, get cold. That’s something that’s still in the process…It’s like a lot of kids – he’s a good prospect. I guess it’s safe to say, him going over there, are the reports on him were all very good. He’s played in the minors. But, until he gets on the NHL rink and you go through the ups and downs then you don’t know for sure. But, it’s fair to say that given what he did over in Europe – and again it’s not an NHL playing field – that this is certainly a guy that is a good prospect. I think if he wants to be an NHL player – which I think certainly most of these kids do, particularly a Canadian kid like this – it makes a lot of sense. So, let’s get over here and give it another shot. He’s more mature. He’s a better player. It’s just a good prospect.”

On contract negotiations with Dustin Brown:
“As far as Brownie, once we get through this, you’re seeing that more and more now as you do in the other sports. You see that now in baseball where more and more teams instead of worrying about keeping space to get somebody else, you start focusing on keeping your own. So once we get through this, I think it’s safe to say that it would behoove us to start looking at that real close. And that’s the other thing that ties in to what we’re saying – once we get these other guys all in, it gives you some finality not only this year, but also going forward, and then you’ve got to make a projection on where the cap is going. But that’s something that we would begin to look at here as soon as we get through some of this.”

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