By: Mike Vukovcan

Pittsburgh (KDKA)- Pens GM Ray Shero has started discussions with soon to be free agents Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis.

Shero opened up contract talks yesterday with forwards Rupp and Dupuis.

According to our sources, Rupp and the Pens are likely to reach a deal before NHL free agency begins on July 1st.

Rupp is one of the leaders and most respected players in the Penguins locker room.

Rupp has been able to play in 81 games in each of the last two seasons.

Last season, he earned $825,000.

Dupuis situation will be a tricky one for Shero and the Penguins.

He’s one of many Penguin role players that are entering free agency.

Along with Dupuis and Rupp, Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, Arron Asham, Chris Conner and Mike Comrie are all free agents on July 1st.

Dupuis made $1.4 million last season and will likely be looking for a raise next season.

Will the Penguins want to spend that much on Dupuis?

We’ll likely find out the answer to that question fairly soon.

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