Connect with us

Penguins

Malkin on Free Agency: ‘Good Players Sign Good Contracts’

Published

on

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin was spreading some love Tuesday as a parade of players met with local reporters for the final time in wrapping up the 2021-22 season and looking forward.

But the decorated center and pending unrestricted free agent also made it clear he will move on after 16 seasons and three Stanley Cups if he can’t strike a deal to remain with the Penguins.

Malkin was asked about it earlier this season, when he was goofing around and proclaimed himself to be a pretty rich guy and perhaps open to taking some sort of hometown discount to remain with his original club.

His tune was a little different Tuesday.

“I believe I’m still a good player, and I believe good players sign good contracts,” Malkin said. “If I say once I’m a rich guy it does not mean I deserve a $1 million contract.”

No, perhaps something in a more high-rent neighborhood.

Malkin is at the end of a contract that carries a salary cap hit of $9.5 million. Even a moderate hometown discount could be tough for the Penguins under the cap for someone who turns 36 in July.

Malkin indicated he wants to play “three or four more years,” and he wants to do it in the NHL, discounting reports that he might be wooed by his hometown team in the KHL, Magnitogorsk.

He also made it clear his preference would be to stay with the Penguins and retire from that organization.

That’s where the lovefest kicked in.

Of his two fellow core players and teammates for all 16 of his seasons, center Sidney Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang, Malkin gushes.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Like brothers, one Canadian and one French-Canadian. I love them both. It’s not just hockey; it’s life. We spend so much time together. We know each other pretty well. Sid’s an amazing guy. Favorite player. Favorite guy.”

Malkin also gave shoutout to Pittsburgh in general.

“I love this city. I love these fans so much,” he said.

And yet Malkin made it clear his future is undecided pending contract negotiations.

“I know if the team wants new blood, young guys on the team and they say to me you should move on, I understand,” he said. “It’s a little bit tough year for me. But we’ll see. I’m glad to be here. Sixteen years. Again, great city, great fans. But we’ll see what’s going on.”

The “tough year” reference was to Malkin’s offseason knee surgery nearly a year ago that kept him out until Jan. 11. He played in half the games, 41, with 20 goals, 42 points. He then had three goals, six points in the seven-game series against a first-round playoff loss to the New York Rangers.

“I know I’m older. I believe in myself. I know it’s a hard year for me. Big injury,” Malkin said. “But now I’ll have a little bit of rest and probably will be the hardest summer of my life. I want to come back next level next year and show my best, play all 82 games, again make the playoffs. I want to play in the final, the semifinals.

“I believe we still have a chance if I stay here. We have a great organization, great coach. We still have a chance to win.

It’s something new for me because it’s the first time in this situation. Pittsburgh is my second home now. … I hope we find a way to all be happy.”

Malkin said he plans to leave a lot of the upcoming back-and-forth to his agent, JP Barry.

“We’ll see what is going on and I hope we sign good deal,” Malkin said.

And if it’s not with the Penguins?

“If I stay I’ll be so happy, but if not (I’ll) move my family to the other city and hope to play my best hockey,” Malkin said.

Subscribe to PHN+

Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

16 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

16 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
6 months ago

Sign Geno!!!

Tim Curtis
Tim Curtis
6 months ago

Sorry, Geno!
It’s time to move on. You’re overpaid for what you offer. Too inconsistent offensively, and often a liability defensively. He’s unable to carry the team in Syd’s absence. See ya!

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim Curtis

Replace him with whom?

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

From among the “plethora” of talent in Wilkes pounding on the door to replace him. Who are those anyway?

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

Yep. The reality is that the cupboard is bare in the minors. Replace him with a trade? Who can they trade that would fetch a point per game #2 center? They don’t have the prospects or pieces on the current roster to pull that off! The only free agent center that can produce points like Malkin is Forsberg and he will probably fetch around 9-11 mil. Can the penguins afford that? Not likely. Let Geno go and we are going to have a healthy dose of Carter as the #2 pivot. Brilliant idea.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young
6 months ago

“Invisible. Malkin let Crosby do the hard work. The Penguins needed Game 6 Malkin but got the deferential Malkin.”

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
6 months ago

Geno: 40 goal/season pace coming off knee surgery. Easy keep.

Peter Hoffman
Peter Hoffman
6 months ago

Point per game guy. HOF career.
Moments of Brilliance. But those turnovers! Ugh.
Should he stay or should he go?
I dont know how you find another point per game center. Will be an interesting summer.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

Long past time to dump Geno the Turnover Machino. Should have been done three years ago. Makes zero sense to pay a 36-year-old has-been that much money to suck at equal strength. The guy was minus-46 over the last four seasons, for cripe sakes.

Crosby32746@yahoo.com
Crosby32746@yahoo.com
6 months ago

Geno!!! You will be missed!

Brandon o
Brandon o
6 months ago

Malkin has been paid more then sid and letang for years while being less important to the team, it’s time he takes a discount if they want to keep this going. Not to say hes replaceable, but any contract starting with an 8 or higher is going to hurt this teams chances of staying competitive. They will likely lose rust, and if geno wants to win here in pitt, he’ll take something around 7×3. He is definetly slowing down and his impact snd ability to take over a game will be less and less frequent. We cant let sentiment turn… Read more »

Giskard
Giskard
6 months ago

Rust is somewhat replaceable from within, Geno is not. Give the man his contract, he doesn’t seem to be asking for the moon.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  Giskard

If the team had a competent GM, he could find a suitable replacement. For instance. Mark Scheifele is much younger and better than Malkin and will be available. He would be a terrific No. 2 center. Much harder to replace Rust, who also is a lot younger than Malkin but plays on the first line and plays with all three units.

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul
Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Scheifele would be nice, but we don’t live in a video game. The price would be high and the penguins don’t have the pieces to trade for him. Nice try though.

As far as I can tell, none of their big three are replaceable. Trade away the underperforming players before you let your best players go. That is my logic. Pettersson, Kapanen, and Zucker could easily go to a team looking to get to the salary cap floor.

mstar80
mstar80
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Nobody wants the 3 guys you mentioned we should get rid of. Also, any trade involving the above 3 will require the Pens to add sweeteners to get the dead weight off this team. Petts would be the only one you could possibly trade. Kappy you can walk away since he is an RFA. Zucker is going nowhere and they won’t buy him out. I knew when they acquired him, it would cost us singing Rust.

Rob
Rob
6 months ago
Reply to  mstar80

I feel they have a little value at least. Zucker needs a change of scenery. Pettersson is a solid 3rd pairing d getting 2d pay. He could be had for a low round pick because like i mentioned there are teams looking to get to the salary cap floor. Its possible, not probable. You are right about Kapanen. I wouldnt mind him staying for a significant paycut. But if he goes on the open market someone will throw a bunch of money at him because that is how free agency goes. Also, hate to say it, but a buyout of… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Robert Shoemaker