In one day, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall cleared the deck of all outstanding issues. Evgeni Malkin will become a UFA, Rickard Rakell will stick around for six years, Kasperi Kapanen will get at least a one-year deal, Danton Heinen will not hang around, and formerly heralded prospect Alex Nylander will also get another crack with the Penguins. The Toronto Maple Leafs went goalie shopping at the NHL trade market and found Matt Murray on clearance, and several more recognizable RFAs did not get QOs.
First–he won’t acknowledge that he did a damned good job on Monday, but Dave Molinari delivered the scoop three times. From Kapanen getting a QO to Malkin becoming a UFA (despite plenty of reports to the contrary and some amended reports), and then was probably first on the Rakell story with correct details (he and Mike DeFabo of the PG were neck and neck at that finish line).
Dave’s response to my glowing praise last night? “I’m going to bed…”
He’s a joy to work with. Really. Better than advertised.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now:
**The Penguins dished qualifying offers to most of their RFAs, including Kasperi Kapanen. They didn’t offer Danton Heinen. Full story–Pittsburgh Penguins RFAs.
**Here’s the complete list of RFAs offered. From P.O Joseph to Alex Nylander (yes, Nylander will be sticking around). Penguins news.
**PHN+: Amidst the chaos, we chatted with 2020 fourth-round pick Lukas Svejkovsky. The kid has a chance. He’s bigger, “feisty,” and his vision impressed coaches. He could be a real find. Pittsburgh Penguins prospects.
**Here’s the biggie. I know reports were all over the map. Dave cut through it all. Talks broke down, and both sides walked away — introducing free agent Evgeni Malkin.
And finally, with the Malkin situation redefined, Hextall added more certainty to his lineup with a whopping six-year deal to Rickard Rakell.
Hextall may have plenty of trades coming in a few years, but for now, the Penguins puzzle is finally coming together, minus a 2C.
NHL Trade Chatter, News & National Hockey Now:
TSN: The last of the NHL goalies on the NHL trade market — Matt Murray will get a chance to backstop another very good team. The Ottawa Senators dealt him, and draft picks to Toronto for “future considerations.”
Sportsnet: Here’s the complete list of RFAs who did not get a qualifying offer. A couple of fourth-line names intrigued me, including Brendan Lemieux. Full list.
Montreal Hockey Now: Canadiens rookie camp began. First overall pick Juraj Slavkovsky impressed. Embattled prospect Logan Mailloux was also present. Montreal Canadiens prospects.
Boston Hockey Now: The NHL rumor mill got one right — David Krejci is again talking about returning to the Boston Bruins.
NYI: After the Islanders acquired 22-year-old defenseman Alexander Romanov, his KHL team came calling with an offer. New York Islanders news.
Colorado Hockey Now: NHL trade rumor bombshell — Elliotte Friedman says Patrick Kane could be headed to the Colorado Avalanche.
We’ll have more from Penguins Development camp today. My cursed car ordeal took a neat twist on Monday as I flew to New York to pick up a car, only to leave empty-handed when the dealer discovered a problem during my flight up there. Don’t worry. They were really sorry. Perhaps my blistering accounting of their failure aided their sorrow. I don’t think I’m getting a Christmas card from them.
Life is an adventure. I got NYC pizza out of the deal and advanced the chances for New York Hockey Now (Rangers). Plan B wasn’t so bad.