The Pittsburgh Penguins, fresh from a horrible defeat to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals, moved at lightning speed to secure one of its biggest pieces in Evgeni Malkin.
The deal is for 8 years and $76 million, which will start in 2014 and is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. The cap hit is $9.5 million per year.
Malkin is undoubtedly in everyone’s Top 5 players in the NHL, but is he deserving of the second greatest per-year contract, behind only Alexander Ovechkin? One will look at this contract as being bigger than Sidney Crosby, however one must remember that this is just the cap hit, not the actual dollars. Sid will get $12.0 million per season in each of the next three years, and $10.9 million per year for the next three after that. He will then have 3 seasons fluctuating between $9.0 million and $9.6 million, so anyone worrying about Crosby being upset at not being the highest paid member or the Penguins, needn’t worry.
What this does do is ensure that the Penguins one-two punch of Crosby and Malkin isn’t going to change anytime soon. However with such high cap hits on these two players, the future of players like Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, and others who will be looking for big contracts in the next two to three years becomes a lot more cloudy.
Malkin’s credentials certainly warrant a big pay day, and a quick look at some of his career highlights will reiterate the point:
- drafted 2nd overall
- Calder Trophy in his rookie season
- over 100 points in three of his seven NHL seasons
- won the Hart Memorial Trophy
- Ted Lindsay Award winner (NHL’s top player as voted on by writers and players)
- career best 50 goals and 59 assists in 2011-12
- Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff most valuable player) in 2009
- 217 goals, 343 assists, 560 points in 458 games
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