Penguins general manager Ray Shero said numerous times in recent weeks how difficult -- if not impossible -- it would be to replace defenseman Kris Letang.

It looks now as if he probably won't have to.

Although there still are some details to work out, the Penguins and Letang appear to be close to settling on a long-term deal.

"We're still working on it with his agent [Kent Hughes]," Shero said as the NHL draft at Prudential Center was winding down Sunday night. "We'll get together, maybe, sometime a little later [today] to try to see if we can work through a couple of things."

A bit earlier, Hughes had confirmed that there was "not yet" an agreement.

The contract, when finalized, is expected to cover eight years and be worth $58 million. If neither the term nor the total value changes, the deal will carry a salary-cap hit of $7.25 million.

A four-year agreement that would carry a slightly higher cap hit also was believed to be on the table Sunday.

Shero declined to say precisely what remains to be resolved, but said "it usually comes down to the money and the term" rather than issues such as no-trade clauses. Letang's deal is expected to include at least a limited one of those.

Per the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, his new contract can't be signed before Friday, even if everything is worked out.

Letang's current contract, which has a cap hit of $3.5 million, runs through the 2013-14 season. His new agreement, if finalized, won't have an immediate impact.

But it could give Shero a few headaches once it kicks in because, with Letang's new deal factored in, the Penguins have about $49 million committed to just eight players for 2014-15.

The salary-cap ceiling for that season hasn't been set, but preliminary projections are that it likely will rise to about $70 million.

Shero spent a little time with Allan Walsh, who represents Pascal Dupuis, Sunday night, and continues to try to reach agreements with Dupuis, Matt Cooke and Craig Adams. All will become unrestricted free agents if not signed by July 5.