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Did Allvin’s Comments Giveaway Penguins (Lack of) Plans for Letang, Malkin & Rust?

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby

Parsing words, especially when a subject was not speaking directly to the issue, is a dangerous business. On Wednesday, former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant-GM and current Vancouver Canucks GM Patrik Allvin spoke to the J.T. Miller trade rumors, and the Canucks need to re-sign Miller.

However, in doing so, Allvin may have inadvertently tipped the Penguins’ plans–or lack thereof.

First, we know the Penguins have not held substantive talks with Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. As of earlier this month, Letang’s camp hoped to fire up those talks, but there’s no word if they began or not.

We know that no substantive talks have been held with Bryan Rust for a new deal despite the winger’s torrid production this season, when healthy. Rust, 29, is ninth in points per game (1.30), trailing Johnny Gaudreau (1.31) and leading Mikko Rantanen (1.27). In 30 games, Rust has 39 points, including 18 goals.

Last summer, Rust and the Penguins touched base and were not on the same page. The NHL free agent frenzy is calling.

Allvin spoke with Sportsnet on Wednesday. He was asked about the need to re-sign Miller or trade him, thus avoiding the game of chicken in which the team can get nothing in return. Allvin referenced the Penguins situation:

“I definitely agree with that, and especially in the position where we are right now,” Allvin said. “We’re not in the playoffs even. Coming from Pittsburgh, it’s different where you have Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Bryan Rust going through the last year of their contracts. But they’re still a top team in the league, and maybe you push through there because you have a chance to win.

“We’re in a different situation here. We’re not there right now, so I would not feel comfortable seeing players just walk away and you don’t get anything in return. But it’s easier said than done.”

So, because the Penguins are trying to win this season, they can afford to roll with unsigned players Rust, Letang, and Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin seemed to joke that he would stay in Pittsburgh and money wasn’t an issue.

“I’m like a pretty rich guy,” Malkin laughed when PHN asked in January.

Any wonder if the Pittsburgh Penguins would put any of the three on the NHL trade block (Rust appeared on some preliminary trade bait lists), is probably on the silly side. As Allvin would not be comfortable seeing players walk without anything to show for it, did he insinuate the Penguins are, in fact, ready to do that?

Sometimes agents and GMs can be sneaky. The Pittsburgh Penguins regime is undoubtedly one that closely guards information and values secrecy. But the next hint of substantive talks with any of three will be the first.

In late January, Kris Letang agent Phil Lecavalier went on record with PHN to express his desire to have those talks soon.

Hextall offered this cryptic insight on Jan. 27:

“We have a hard salary cap, so they’re going to have to work with us. And, you know, certain players, if they want the most money, they’re probably going to go elsewhere. But I think you can say that about every team. So we’re hoping that our guys are comfortable here, which I believe they are, and hopefully, we can find a deal that satisfies both sides.”

Is the answer quietly staring right at us?

We’ve wondered, opined, chased reports and sources. At the end of the year, perhaps Hextall will put a take-it-or-leave-it offer before Malkin and Letang (Rust appears to be a goner).

This season really could be the end of the line for an unprecedented run in the salary cap era. The Chicago Blackhawks, who also won three Stanley Cups, long ago faded. Even with former Penguins championship core goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the playoffs have been a pipedream. Only the Penguins have maintained playoff participation and a core of star players.

Everything must end. Allvin simply clarified his situation, but it surely seems he shed some light on the Penguins’ (lack of) plans for the immediate future, too.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Pete
Pete
2 months ago

I know this isn’t popular but I would sign 17 before 71. Who is going to produce more from this day forward?

Ethan
Ethan
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

If the contracts were identical in dollars and term I think most people would agree with you. But seems doubtful they would be–Rust likely looking at long term and top dollar. (Can’t blame Rusty for trying and at least commanding market value.) But that is a tougher pill to swallow then a short term/reduced contract (pretty much every Hextall contract so far)–if indeed that is what happens with Malkin–yet if still unsigned by summer, reduced part seems somehow wishful…but you never know. What I do know is you can’t low ball Letang when you have Matheson on 3rd pair making… Read more »

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

Keep in mind Mathesson is much younger yes I know he is not the same caliber as Letang but I would not feel comfortable throwing big money and term to Kris he is awesome when he plays the right way he will make scream when he doesn’t play the right way.

Ethan
Ethan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason.C

Yeah. Agreed. I was talking salary for Letangle not term.

Eric Bouchard
Eric Bouchard
2 months ago

The capacity of retaining his big guns will be THE biggest challenge for GMRH…..if he fails…..it will be again another “stain on his record”

He was known in Philly to beor wanting to be a ONE MAN show……I hope Mario has a say in this pretty soon.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago
Reply to  Eric Bouchard

Hence the reason for Burke Being here.

Jason.C
Jason.C
2 months ago

So what are we saying Dan from this that the Penguins might move one of the 3 by trade deadline? If so I know it’s not a popular opinion but I could see them moving Letang and adding a couple sweeteners to the trade to maybe get a better return and if the trade matches what your losing and I could see him playing out the season but probably nothing beyond summer…I think Malkin will stay and I believe they find somehow to sign Rust they really can’t afford to lose him!

Last edited 2 months ago by JcNorthStar
Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
2 months ago

Did Allvin’s comments give away Penguins plans?
No… no they didn’t. Their GM-speak in no way illuminates our GM-speak.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Donnelly

I do wonder if that’s a bit of bad form on Alvin’s part. Why be specific like that publicly? It could well be that he doesn’t know anything or that Hextall’s thinking has changed, but publicly hinting at a former employer’s plans about players still in the league strikes me as unnecessary. That’s just me, I suppose.

Rich
Rich
2 months ago

Hextall is at the crossroads of legacy or let them walk. The pens are a good team but not a tier one contender, do they have a chance-sure, will they win- probably not with how this roster is constructed. Enough holes to stop the trip to a cup unless the GM does something and even then, luck has to be on their side. So if you have no plans to sign these guy or guys-and you only going to make a run- whats really the point. Like making the playoffs and getting crushed by the chiefs, picking 20th- makes no… Read more »

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
2 months ago

Will Fleury be a Penguin next season??

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
2 months ago

On a team bereft of top end minor league talent waiting to bust thru to the bigs they can’t afford to let any of them walk w/o getting something in return. Yes, it opens salary cap space, but then they would be bidding against others in free agency for player(s) they might want to replace any of the three.

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
2 months ago

Malkin and Letang should think of the team like Crosby did, they should take a considerable cut cause of their age factors to help with the Rust factor. The older they get, the more prone to injuries and they had their share of injuries through the years. They’re both rich as well.

Ryan
Ryan
2 months ago
Reply to  Crazyhorse87

Crosby took a 13 year deal that was outlawed under the cba that followed the lockout one day later. He certainly could have gotten max…so it was a discount…but he a “pretty rich guy” like Malkin and Letang. I like how people rewrite history. Letangs salary was 4th for Dmen when he signed it…and is still 19th now 8 years later. Malkin was overpaid but coming off a hart, a Connie and two art Ross’s in the prior 5 years. Probably fair all the way around.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ryan
Alan Smith
2 months ago

Play out the season and rebuild quickly! Sid and the Kids!

Kris
Kris
2 months ago

Kapanen needs to go. Pettersson will be traded. Malkin will be true to his word and take less money. Letang will be ok with $8-mill if he gets some term. Rust needs term also but shouldn’t cost more than Guentzel’s $6/per. Reality is we will have one very young line next year as we pay some of these older guys. The ones leaving will be Rodrigues, Heinen and ZAJK for more money than we can afford.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Why trade Pettersson? What do you envision getting for him and how does it make the team better?

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The cap space alone would make trading him worth it. He would be a great defenseman for $2 to $2.5 million per year. The Penguins are not getting $4+ million in value out of him.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago

The strategy for any GM should be to keep his best players. Does he want to make the playoffs or not? Rebuild now and waste the last 3 years of Crosby’s contract?

Dump a few of the bad contracts or players not producing (Zucker, Kapanen, Petterson, or Matheson). Sending away one or 2 of them will free up enough cap space to sign 2 or maybe all 3. Seems like a no brainer.

Ryan
Ryan
2 months ago

All he’s saying is Vancouver has to build so it makes no sense to let miller walk when they aren’t a contender…where the pens need those 3 to maximize their chances now and can risks losing 1-2 of them after the year.

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[…] he did for Crosby’s. However, that can only happen if Malkin re-signs in the offseason. Did former Penguins assistant GM Patrick Allvin accidentally release some information regarding Malkin’s […]

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