Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/23/14 at 04:56 PM ET
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
He isn't anticipating the new coach will have the team's high profile, unrestricted free agents at his disposal.
Rutherford said on Monday that unrestricted free agents Matt Niskanen and Jussi Jokinen, in particular, will likely play elsewhere next season.
Niskanen and Jokinen increased their respective values by having excellent 2013-14 seasons.
“I've talked with them,” Rutherford said. “I think both players would like to return. But they're also coming off good years. It's time for them to hit free agency and get their big contracts. With that being said, we'll see what happens leading up to free agency.”
Rutherford declined to comment on defenseman Brooks Orpik, another unrestricted free agent.
Rutherford has said on numerous occasions that he'd like to have a coach in place when the free agency period opens on July 1. If that doesn't happen, dealing with players and agents could become problematic.
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