Defenseman Kris Letang has rejected one of the largest contract offers in the Penguins history.
Letang declined an eight-year contract that would have paid him around $54 million (total) late Thursday, sources told the Tribune-Review.
However, his agent, Kent Hughes, stressed Letang remains only interested in playing for the Penguins.
“We have exchanged offers,” Kent said in a text message. “But (we) have yet to reach an agreement.
“We have not quit.”
The Penguins are willing go as high as $7 million annually — with some wiggle room — to keep Letang, the sources said. Letang is looking for $7.5 million annually, sources said.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero has repeatedly said his wish is to continue building around a core of centers Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Letang.
Malkin signed an eight-year contract worth $76 million earlier this month.
Shero did not get his deal with Letang on Thursday, but he made other moves in a busy offseason that has already seen him re-sign Malkin and extend the contracts of Dan Bylsma and the coaching staff.
• Left winger Chris Kunitz agreed to a three-year contract.
• Representatives for impending free agents Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke continued to negotiate terms on potential new deals.
• Forward Craig Adams, also soon to be a free agent, had yet to hear from the Penguins.
• Finally, the future for defenseman Brooks Orpik became a little clearer.
Shero said talks are ongoing with Letang.