It's not official yet and can't be for another day, at least.
But the evidence is accumulating that Matt Cooke won't be with the Penguins in 2013-14.
Cooke, a blue-collar winger, is on the cusp of unrestricted free agency, and will be eligible to sign with any team Friday.
General manager Ray Shero acknowledged Wednesday evening that precedent strongly suggests that, now that Cooke is about to be free to move on, he almost certainly will do so.
"Most guys, if they get [to unrestricted free agency], there's more money, or they want a change," Shero said.
Cooke's agent, Pat Morris, could not be reached for comment.
The Penguins' other unrestricted-free-agent-to-be, forward Craig Adams, might be more likely to return, if only because he will command a lower salary than Cooke.
Cooke's cap hit under his expiring contract was $1.8 million while Adams' was $675,000.
The Penguins already have a little more than $60.1 million of cap space committed to players for the 2013-14 season, when the ceiling will be $64.3 million.
Enforcer Steve MacIntyre, who is expected to play primarily in the American Hockey League, accounts for $625,000 of that, so a more realistic figure probably is closer to $59.5 million.
That total, however, does not include an estimated $1.9 million worth of qualifying offers extended to defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and forwards Dustin Jeffrey and Harry Zolnierczyk, all of whom figure to be on the major-league depth chart this fall.
Shero said that he and Morris "exchanged offers a few weeks ago," but confirmed that he still hasn't put a contract proposal on the table for Adams.