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Friedman Says Penguins Trade Fell Through, Malkin Had to ‘Cool Down’

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin

As the NHL trade chatter increases, perhaps we know what Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ron Hextall meant at the 2022 NHL Draft when he said he had “balls in the air.”

On the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman also confirmed our reports and analysis that Malkin’s emotions were a holdup in the process.

Friedman said the Penguins had a trade in place at the draft, but it fell through late in the process. Connecting possible dots, last week, we reported that Hextall and Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes had multiple extended conversations at the draft.

“Someone told me Pittsburgh had a D trade at the draft that fell apart late. But they wouldn’t tell me what it was.”

Earlier this week, GM Ron Hextall stirred the NHL trade rumors when he admitted the Penguins must shed a defenseman, possibly two, before the start of the season in October. The Penguins signed Jan Rutta to a three-year deal with a $2.75 million AAV. Rutta, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning, became the ninth NHL defenseman on the Penguins roster.

“If we could move a defenseman maybe for a forward, something like that, or if we could move a defenseman for futures, those are the types of things that we’ll be looking at. I don’t know when or where,” Hextall conceded.

Over the past few weeks, Pittsburgh Hockey Now also reported that Montreal forward Josh Anderson, not the oft speculated defenseman Jeff Petry, was a possible Penguins trade target. Given that defenseman Kris Letang signed his contract before the NHL draft, Anderson makes the most sense.

“Someone told me Pittsburgh had a D trade at the draft that fell apart late. But they wouldn’t tell me what it was,” said Friedman.

We’ve also reported that multiple teams called the Penguins leading up to the NHL trade deadline about young defender P.O Joseph, a Quebec native, who just signed a two-year NHL contract last Monday.

As with all NHL trades, it takes two teams to agree. What one GM wants to deal isn’t always what other teams want to receive. PHN feels Hextall may be forced to give up a defenseman that he would prefer not to trade. Or two.

Evgeni Malkin Contract

One of our controversial bits of analysis was “Emotional Malkin vs. Pragmatic Penguins.” Our column stirred debate and (hopefully) encapsulated the process as best as we could report it.

Friedman confirmed as much.

“The biggest thing with Malkin was getting him to cool down. On Monday, he was so emotional. How do we get him to cool down? I’m sure Crosby played a role in it. I’m sure others played a role in it,” said Friedman. “But I think the whole thing was, can you get Malkin to cool down. By Tuesday afternoon, he was. They had it done that night.”

Hextall couldn’t say what changed between Monday when sources told colleague Dave Molinari that Malkin would test free agency and Tuesday night when the Penguins announced the deal after 11 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Penguins inked Malkin to a four-year, $24.4 million deal. The contract qualifies as a 35+ contract, which means if Malkin retires before the end, the cap hit will remain until the end of the term.

Malkin “won” if you consider getting the fourth year and signing bonuses at the end of the contract, which also makes it buyout proof, and a full no-movement clause.

32 Thoughts co-host Jeff Marek said he believed multiple teams were prepared to offer much larger annual salaries over a shorter period, though he stopped just short of reporting that to be true.

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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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Dave Heyl
28 days ago

Does anyone believe Malkin will play hard for less money or contribute by changing his game? This will be an albatross around the organization into 2026. By game 41 in 2023 it will be obvious what needed to be done, with buyer remorse!

Jake w
Jake w
28 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

While this may be true, there weren’t exactly better options out there. Hextall did what he had to do in order to put the best team on the ice next season. That’s all we can ask of him at this point. For now.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
28 days ago
Reply to  Jake w

@ Dan, I think you all have a few articles outlaying a few options and there potential fits, no?

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
28 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

I sure hope not. If he wasn’t happy with the deal, he could have went to another team, I don’t see Hextall holding a gun to him or anything like that. Maybe he will be “dying inside” like Jagr was and ask for a trade. This is speculative because can anyone actually know how Malkin was feeling other than himself? To my knowledge I have not seen any Geno quotes, has anyone?

Last edited 28 days ago by Robert Shoemaker
Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
28 days ago

The situations with Jagr and Geno are in no way comparable. I don’t expect Geno will be dying inside, but let’s think the worst of him anyway.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

I was joking for the people who think Malkin is terrible in every way and believe that kind of crap is true. i do believe the negotiations were emotional, but Geno always wanted to stay here so he has to be happy, right?

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
28 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

unless they trade him, LOL (like Vancouver maybe JR get stupid or Yzerman) i love malkin but all i can think of SJ and the Burns and Karlsson situation and malkin acting like a 5 year old, by the way did Pit get larson from the Caps??

MrNails
MrNails
27 days ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

Trading someone with a no-trade clause…great idea!

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
28 days ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

Buddy, he is a professional athlete. Not to mention, he wants to be the first Russian-born skater with 4 Cups.

Wasnt
28 days ago

Wow, great read. Hopefully Pens could somehow snag Josh Anderson, he’s a badass

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[…] De son côté, Dan Kingerski du blogue Pittsburgh Hockey Now rapportait après le repêchage que Hughes et Hextall ont eu de multiples discussions. Les deux informations regroupées indiquent qu’il s’est peut-être passé quelque […]

Bob
Bob
28 days ago

Hugh?

Kathy
Kathy
28 days ago

Cool down …wait til he cooled down…that’s a new one for the NHL ,🤨

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Frank
Frank
28 days ago

The intent of the site is that it allows any of us to talk about anything (within the lines good taste) related to hockey. But I have to admit the sooner all the griping goes away about Malkin and/or the “core” and/or the age of the team . .. the better. I am not particularly crazy about how it all turned out either. For the most part it seems it made Crosby, Letang and Malkin happy. Beyond that left the fan base resigned or unhappy with a segment OK with it. But it looks like a general consensus that this… Read more »

Cal
Cal
28 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Some great points. I am one who does not agree on some of the direction is heading but will still cheer for the team and all its players.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
28 days ago
Reply to  Frank

They signed six guys, including Ruuta, to essentially undervalued contracts. The problem isn’t the core. It’s that the third and fourth lines have been nowhere as good as they were in the last Cup runs. If they can somehow solve that as the season goes along they can make a deeper run in the playoffs, but in hockey nothing is guaranteed.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
28 days ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

YES YES YES 100% YES

BDGR
BDGR
28 days ago

Bottom six scoring, injury bug (plague is more accurate for the last few years), and goaltending inconsistent (see injury bug as well) have played a major part, yesssir!

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
28 days ago
Reply to  Frank

holy novella, Batman!

Kris
Kris
28 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Average age of the Penguins last season 28.5 years old. Average age of the Tampa Lightening last year 28.5 years old. Can we please stop with the aging core nonsense. If we had a healthy NHL goalie for the playoffs, we win that series. We didn’t and lost. So let’s get rid of everyone who has helped us to 16 straight playoff appearances because well, we haven’t won the cup in a couple of years so we must suck. yeah there were so many great players would could have signed instead and that would have meant what, a guarantee that… Read more »

Bachinga
Bachinga
28 days ago

What *changed* was that Geno found out FL had no interest in signing him.

Mike Kirkell
Mike Kirkell
28 days ago
Reply to  Bachinga

Actually what changed is Crosby stepped in and by the time Malkin returned to the table Hextall changed the structure to make it a 35 plus deal with heavily front loaded money. Stevie Wonder could see what happened . . .

Bob
Bob
28 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kirkell

Obviously he’s running the team (Crosby) so I hope they back up their decision on the ice and not have the same old same old exit early playoffs that is if they make it with all the other teams improving. Like I said before they should bring back the We Are Family song back from the Pirates era. The only difference is the We Are Family Sing was about winning and not about family matters.

DaGama
DaGama
28 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Return of the Country Club Pens? Given the work ethic of 87 & 58 hopefully not.

Last edited 28 days ago by DaGama
Jack
Jack
28 days ago

Not looking forward to Malkin’s inconsistent play. By some miracle he turns his game up with intensity.

Mike Kirkell
Mike Kirkell
28 days ago
Reply to  Jack

I know. For the life of me, I can never understand why Malkin couldn’t do with Heinen and Kapanen what he does with Guentzel and Rust.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
28 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kirkell

I’m looking for the differences in the pictures….
they are both the same.

Bob
Bob
16 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kirkell

Malkins not a smart hockey player like Crosby and relies on his dwindling skills with the age factor. Can’t wait to see his retaliation penalties and his cross ice blue line intercepted breakaway chances for the opposition.

Mike Kirkell
Mike Kirkell
28 days ago

I’m not sure why some comments here reflect the sentiment that Malkin lost the negotiation. He got exactly what he wanted in the end. He got Hextall to stretch to four years. And then by walking from the table he got Hextall to front load the deal.

Bob
Bob
16 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kirkell

Big mistake and his No trade clause still in effect? Give me a break!

Mike Kirkell
Mike Kirkell
28 days ago

Here’s the hard truth: Malkin isn’t 22. He can’t polish crap anymore. The most he can do with guys like Heinen and Kapanen, guys who wouldn’t be in the top 9 of a high end playoff team, is what he did against the Rangers: 3+3 and 8 goals for and 2 against at five on five with goalies in net. On the other hand, we also have seen the most he can do when you give him two legitimate top six wingers when any time he plays with Guentzel in Rust. I suspect there’s a lesson in there for Hextall,… Read more »

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
28 days ago
Reply to  Mike Kirkell

At the very least he will have Rakell or Rust on his wing this season. That is an upgrade over Kappanen and Heinen. he should perform even better than the point per game he had last season.

Bob
Bob
28 days ago

So Malkin put on his whining act that deflected from the Pens pursuing another center. I wouldn’t have signed him and if I did that No trade clause would have to be lifted or see ya! Should’ve signed Giroux which I’m surprised Hextall didn’t from him signing former Philly Players.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
28 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Must have thought Geno was better, eh?

Bob
Bob
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

We’ll see who plays more games. Giroux or The Whiner!

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