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Should the Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin?

May 13, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for malkin.jpgIt’s been a couple years since someone brought up the idea of the Penguins trading Evgeni Malkin. On some level, it’s kind of refreshing. Like hearing an old friend make the same terrible joke he used to make when you were still in high school.

This time, John Grigg of The Hockey News brings the concept to the forefront.

Trading Malkin would do a number of things for the Pens. First, it would net Pittsburgh a winger to play with Crosby; God only knows what type of numbers he could put up with something more than an average player to pass the puck to.

Second, it would open up more ice time for Staal; who, although he didn’t put up great numbers, was a beast in the playoffs and looks to be on the verge of becoming a player more akin to older brother Eric than the third line checker he’s been pigeon-holed as.

Also, a Malkin trade frees up cap space; $8.7 million to be exact. That’s a lot of cake. And having Staal’s $4 million as No. 2 center money makes a lot more sense these days. The $8.7-million difference could be spent shoring up a blueline that has just three players signed to it next season.

It’s amazing how much of a difference winning (or losing) can make. Isn’t this a team that made two trips to the Stanley Cup Finals and won one of them? Grigg’s overarching idea that the Penguins would be better off with a scoring winger instead of Malkin doesn’t hold much water when you consider the fact that the Montreal Canadiens shut down a wing-centric offense in the Washington Capitals. Should the Caps and Pens just trade “problems”?

Let me make this plainly clear. The Penguins would be (unpublishable adjective) crazy to trade Malkin. Teams don’t get better when they move star players. Take a look at Grigg’s idea.

Here’s an idea a couple of us came up with. I repeat, an idea we came up with. Not a rumor. Malkin and a fifth round pick to Edmonton for the first overall selection, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Sheldon Souray.

Yuck. While Taylor Hall and another prospect sound appealing, why would Pittsburgh want to waste cap space on an oft-injured, aging and inferior-to-Gonchar type player such as Souray? And keep in mind, this is a relatively rich package in the world of fantasy trades.

Nope, the best idea is to keep your stars and hope that you can make the occasional lucky, cheap free agent moves. Maybe it’s not the perfect way to build a team, but my guess is that all but a handful of NHL teams would trade places with Pittsburgh in a heartbeat.

  1. Mike - May 13, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Agree on all points. All so short-sighted. Last year Malkin was an absolute beast in the regular season and playoffs. Now he’s extra baggage?
    There’s a reason teams rarely make it back to the Finals two years in a row, let alone three. It’s a long grind, especially for the star players like Crosby and Malkin. Crosby had a good season and a strong start to the playoffs, but let’s remember it’s hard to match his commitment to physical conditioning. It’s probably not fair to compare anyone to him.
    Bottom line is Malkin was simply exhausted. He had nothing left and it showed. Give him a long summer off and we’ll be back to watching 87 and 71 battle it out for the Art Ross again next year.

  2. Kevin - May 13, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    While Malkin could fetch alot for the Pens, this is probably just a knee jerk reaction after getting eliminated so early. I’m sure at some point someone will realize that’s preposterous and pointless.

  3. jmv5010 - May 13, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    I love reading these over-reaching articles after a talent-loaded team is ousted. Trading Malkin is beyond moronic. He may not have always been top-notch this year, but please, trading Malkin makes the team better – get over that idea.

  4. Matt - May 13, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Hey, maybe he can be traded to the Kings three years after Garrioch said he was a King!

  5. Dude!!! - May 13, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I think people aren’t realizing the business side of keeping Crosby, Malkin, and Staal. The Pens are going to have too much money tied to just 3 players. The Pens should trade Malkin if he doesn’t want to play 2nd fiddle to Crosby while in the last year of his contract. Malkin could get paid alot more money elsewhere as a #1 center.

  6. Lisa in Denver - May 13, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    As a huge Pens fan and a very disappointed Pens fan today, still cannot believe the Pens lost a game 7 at home!!! But hats off to the Habs, they played all out better and had the better Goalie, for sure, they were hungrier and wanted to win more…That was the worst performance from the Pittsburgh penguins I have ever witnessed–especially Gonchar! I would not trade Malkin yet….if he has another bad season with the Pens as he had this regular and post season, Ray Shero and company should entertain trading Malkin…remember, folks, the Oilers traded “the great one!”. We are all replaceable.

  7. Allan - May 14, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    I don’t believe that trading Malkin would help the Penguins. Malkin has to change his game. There were times in the playoffs when Malkin looked like a spectator instead of a player. He has to assume more responsibility for the offense when Crosby is being blanked by the other team.
    As big as he is, he should be crashing the crease. And he needs to setup his teammates better. The guy knows ten times more about hockey than I ever will but even a fan can see when a player (center) needs to step up and dominate. Players are only great when they make great plays.

  8. robo - May 14, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Trading Malkin is a hilariously bad idea. What a moron. I can’t believe that more than one person at the hockey news thought that the proposed edmonton trade was a good idea. taylor hall will be good but malkin was the best player in the entire NHL last year. what i don’t understand is why fedotenko has been given the shaft since then, those two were a good pair.
    what pittsburgh should do is trade jordan staal while people still believe he has some potential. there is no reason to have a tradeable asset suck up 4 million of cap space on your third line. max talbot would be better at that role. right now pitt has two great centremen, one very good UFA dman, and everything else on the team is completely replaceable (though i like letang and talbot).

  9. brit - May 15, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    haha, “yuck”…this is going to be the lamest comment u get on this article.

  10. Pat - May 17, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    Malkin will be gone for sure to LA with a 3rd or 5th pick for Johnson and Kopitar. One other that is around is Edmonton, those are it. Staal isn’t going anywhere, Geno makes 8.7 which can get 2 top wingers in the game to help Sid. It’s like Jagr and Lemieux can’t keep them both. Also look for a free agent signing like a Frolov to help out.

  11. Maggie - May 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    I think Malkin should stay! He is doing great for Russia in the world championship and he did great the year of the Stanley Cup when they won! Really it wasn’t just Malkin that did average, so did Crosby. Malkin got two hat tricks in the regular season! I just think it was depressing for the whole team because of the closing of the Mellon Arena. I think Malkin should stay, hes still young!

  12. William - May 26, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Here is a good case for Malkin to stay put

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