On paper, the Pittsburgh Penguins look like a force to be reckoned with. One would have thought that the team would have earned their way into the playoffs this past season, but that was not the case. The window of opportunity seems to be shrinking with core players getting older by the minute. Contract status could ulimately change the look of the Penguins in the near future. Marquee talents Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Andrew Ladd have only one year left on their contracts, leaving two of them destined for free agency if they play the entire year in Pittsburgh.

"We want to make this year count. Since losing in the conference finals a few year back, we haven't been able to get the job when it counts. It's now or never." stated assistant captain Andrew Ladd. 

The team has $31,000,000 and change committed to salaries and coaching fees next season. Jeff Skinner, Adam Larsson, Brock Nelson, Jonas Brodin, Riley Sheahan and Marc-Andre Fleury are in need of new deals and are all important components of the team's success.

"It is going to be a fun offseason for sure. We have a number of great young players to sign. Hopefully we can ink everyone to favourable deals but we aren't exactly holding our breath. Players and agents want to get paid. There is no such thing as a hometown discount." the Penguins general manager mentioned.  

Inevitably, the Penguins are expected to be very close to the cap when everything is all said and done. Reports indicate that the team could be open to moving some talent in order to shed some cap space. 

"Of course we are always open to discussing options. With that said, we need to be patient and see things through. It is a long offseason. Lots can happen. We need to make sure that we manage our assets appropriately." 

July 4th is when all of the fun begins. It is expected that the Penguins will come to terms with Skinner, Larsson and Nelson as soon as possible. These three are expected to carry a bulk of the load next season.