When thinking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the things that always come up are Jaromir Jagr’s head of hair and Mario Lemieux. However, the duo of legends in Pittsburgh Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are also names that represent the Penguins well. Both have been a long time 1-2 punch down the middle for almost two decades now. But they might be separated this offseason as Evgeni Malkin needs a new contract. The long-time Pittsburgh Penguin is rumoured to be saying goodbye to the black and gold. Come free agency, he could have a new home.
Long Time Penguins Centre Could Have A New Home
ICYMI: The debut of CJ's Big Board. Ranking the NHL's top-30 pending free agents and updating where things stand with them. https://t.co/lW6nu3mYSs
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 30, 2022
Evgeni Malkin Contract Status
Evgeni Malkin is at the top of the list and rightfully so. One of the most decorated players currently playing in the NHL, the star centre still has a lot left in the tank. Despite being injured and having yet to play an entire season in recent memory, he still has plenty to offer. Evgeni Malkin is coming off a contract that earned him $9.5 million per year, and even though he won’t cost that much he will not be cheap either.
After a nagging knee injury that kept him out half the year, he had a roaring return to the ice. In 41 games played, he scored 20 goals, 22 assists, and 42 points. He became a point-per-game player and did not miss a beat when he returned to the ice. Spending his time between Danton Heinen and Kasperi Kapanen, the line ranked fifth with 2.88 goals per 60 minutes.
Ron Hextall would love to keep the Russian centre in Pittsburgh for the remainder of his career. With a new ownership group in town, they would love to keep the big-name centre as well and have him retire a Penguin. It would be very strange seeing Malkin in another sweater, but when all is said and done, 71 could be hanging in the rafters one day.
Teams That Should Offer A Contract
This would be the weirdest given the history between the two clubs, but the shoe fits. The Washington Capitals will be rumoured to be in on every centre available. After losing a star of their own, they could turn to another star. Evgeni Malkin could come on and slot next to fellow countrymen Alexander Ovechkin. It would be must-watch hockey, and if Malkin can stay healthy, the Russian duo could damage the Eastern Conference.
The Dallas Stars have a new offensive-minded coach. The team also needs an injection of offence, as they were one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league. Granted, they need to sign goaltender Jake Oettinger and star winger Jason Robertson, but grabbing Malkin to centre the second line and take pressure off Roope Hintz could go a long way to a team that is capable of contending in the Western Conference. Jim Nill may have to get creative with his cap space, but it is worth looking into.
Even though it has not been made official, long-time captain Patrice Bergeron will return to the team. The most glaring need on the team is having a centre to play behind him. Don Sweeney does not have much to work with financially, but having Malkin between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak would give the Bruins a lethal line. It is unlikely to happen but never say never. Malkin could remain in the black and gold just in a new city.