On the cusp of his 1,000th NHL game, future Hall of Fame center Sidney Crosby on Friday expressed a desire to spend the balance of his career right where he is, with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I love playing here, and this is where I’d love to play for the rest of my career,” Crosby said after the Penguins practiced at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
That might not seem all that newsworthy – Crosby has often said he is comfortable with the Penguins — if not for the fact that his name has popped up recently in trade talk and speculation that he might finish his career with a different franchise.
“I can’t really control what’s said or rumors and things like that,” he said
Crosby, 33, the long-time team captain, is scheduled to hit Game No. 1,000 Saturday night at home against the New York Islanders.
He has long been considered the Penguins’ most untouchable player in terms of any movement between teams, even more than fellow team core players Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. He was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft after the Penguins won that pick in the draft lottery.
However, since a change in upper management over the past several weeks – Jim Rutherford abruptly resigned, with Ron Hextall hired as GM and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations – there has been a steady hum surrounding Crosby, linking him to possible trades.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger told Colorado Hockey Now that “it makes a lot of sense to me” that Crosby could join his good friend and fellow star player Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado. Other speculation has suggested a trade to Boston or perhaps finishing his career with Montreal, the team he grew up rooting for. It’s even been suggested that Crosby might be willing to fall on his sword for the good of the team and agree to be traded so the Penguins could stockpile players in a return as part of a rebuild, should the new regime decide rebuilding is the way to go after two straight early postseason exits and with an aging core.
“That’s definitely kind of a new subject that I’ve had to deal with and hear about a little bit,” Sidney Crosby said.
Crosby, who is signed through 2024-25 with a salary cap hit of $8.7 million, has a full no-movement clause, meaning he would have to approve any trade. Or he could leave through free agency in 2025 if he doesn’t re-sign with the Penguins.
However, it doesn’t sound as if that is on the table.