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Penguins GM says Malkin might draw team’s highest salary

Jan 7, 2013, 6:32 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Evegeni Malkin AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a massive investment by signing Sidney Crosby to a 12-year, $104.4 million deal, but re-signing Evgeni Malkin might even be more expensive. At least on average.

Penguins GM Ray Shero admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he “discussed the likelihood” of Malkin becoming the team’s highest-paid player with Crosby during their June 2012 contract discussions.

Making that happen won’t be easy; both Malkin’s and Kris Letang‘s contracts expire after the 2014-15 campaign.

“I did not anticipate what the salary-cap number would be, but I‘ve said over the years that you had to anticipate the (last labor contract) was ending,” Shero said. “And I wanted to be in a position to sign (captain Sidney) Crosby, Malkin and (defenseman Kris) Letang.”

Shero didn’t explain how he could pull that off, however.

It remains to be seen if Malkin’s annual cap hit climbs from his current one, which matches Crosby’s $8.7 million mark. Letang should expect a massive bump from his $3.5 million rate, on the other hand.

Could that mean a buyout for someone who had a disappointing season for his price like $5 million defenseman Paul Martin? That’s unclear, but here’s what Shero had to say about him:

“He‘s embarrassed by the year he had,” Shero said. “He‘s promised to be the player we know he is, but it‘s up to Paul to bounce back.”

And then it will be up to Shero to decide who comes back, in the long run.

  1. hockeyfan28 - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    As long as there aren’t 29 other Sean Couturiers he should be worth every penny

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      What does that even mean?…lol

      • whiteqbs - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        It means Sean Couturier shut him down in the playoffs making him useless and take stupid penalties.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:38 PM

        Hahaha ……..Honestly, I don’t think anyone was “shut down” in that series. Plus, Couturier could become the next Pavel Datsyuk and I bet if you asked Malkin he would look forward to that kind of challenge.

      • hockeyfan28 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        No Sean Couturier pretty much shut him down to the point James Neal was trying to sucker punch Couturier by launching himself like a missile off his skates to get him off the ice

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:31 AM

        If 8 points in 6 games is getting shut down Malkin would/could probably deal with that most times. Aaaaaaaaand checking is still allowed soooooo James Neal hitting opposing players isn’t exactly outlawed.

        If your goal is simply hate on Evgeni Malkin oooooooook. The whole Couturier threat statement is just funny.

      • hockeyfan28 - Jan 8, 2013 at 6:40 AM

        No Gino is a great player but it might help if you actually watched the series most of his points came after the flyers where up 3-0 in the series

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM

        Even if I rewatch the series 10 times, one series against one guy in a single year isn’t exactly an epiphany or formula on to how to stop Evgeni Malkin. EVERY team the penguins play experiment with who they can put on Malkin to limit his chances.

        Hats off to Couturier for helping the flyers win, buuuuut that’s about all he deserves.

  2. ironcity6pak - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    He deserves it, he’s def a work horse.

  3. Buford T Justice - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    he does more then sid , better all around player imo.

    • lordfletcher - Jan 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

      as a Sid hater, I can’t agree with that at all.

      When healthy… healthy,…. there is no one better on the ice than Sid.

      again, I do not like him at all and have nothing against Malkin

  4. ahhhyeah - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    I don’t care how good of a season Martin has next year, if buying him out means the pens keep Malkin and Letang, they have to do it. They have enough D prospects to make up for Martin anyway.

    • danphipps01 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM

      Been saying it for ages. Even if he plays well, they’ve got like four NHL-ready prospects, and Despres is at least as good as he is – and much, much cheaper.

  5. Buford T Justice - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Watch the Flyers make a big splash for Letang if he becomes a UFA or when he does…

    • handsofsweed - Jan 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      Watch Pittsburgh wrap him up to a long-term deal well before that happens.

      • isithockeyseasonyet - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:02 PM

        Maybe but then how are they filling the rest of the roster?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Wishful thinking. Letang is a beast, but sadly he will spend most of his career playing the Flyers not playing for the Flyers.

  6. killerpgh - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    If you take the 1st 8 years of Crosby’s contract it averages out to 10.8 million per year. Hopefully Malkin can be had for around 8 years 80 million.

  7. villi5ed - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Great player, but….Mary Shelley thought him up long before his parents did. (“It’s alive!!!”) There
    is a punk factor in his game that is not worthy of him and that cannot be gainsaid. Quick memo to
    Evgeni: Lose the instinct-to-wantonly-slewfoot idiocy, learn to take a good check without spearing
    the guy who just caught you, and whaddya know? You’re on your way to being irreproachable.

  8. whiteqbs - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Penguins are going tie up a bunch of money to 3 players and be stuck everywhere else. I like it!!

    • danphipps01 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      It’s almost like they’re Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney freaking Crosby or something.

    • pensfan603 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      if you knew there ahl and echl teams you would disagree, knowing ray he will make some trade, sending a niskanen type paway before they reup their contract and get 2 good players in return.

  9. pensfan603 - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    You have crosby who had 30 goals in almost half a season, and then last year Neal and Malkin with 40+ Goals, and letang being such a good defenseman there would have to be a lot of cuts, but shero knows what he is doing, the AHL Scranton Penguins are one of the best teams in the AHL and there ECHL team is also very good the amount of youth they can insurt to fill in some of these roles is good its just being able to add them over a period time, that matters, they would have to try to aclimate 3 rookies in this year and try to get 2 more the next put try to do it slowly, But really why are we discussing this, Ray Shero is a mastermine, he traded away a subpar defenseman and got back someone who could score 40 goals for his team and right now his second best defense man, he is a genious, i dont see him screwing this up, prolly trade a kunitz type away get back a draft pick or young 3rd line player that he sees value for. I know this seems kind of biased, but really i think they can pull it out, he knows how to insurt the right players into his system, the question is can crosby, and Fluery play well enough to carry the penguins, yes you could blame malkin during the playoffs, but if those two are playing well on the ice the whole complexion of that serious would of changed, and by bring in vokoun he helped Fluerys Job.

  10. nyrnashty - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    He won the MVP last year, he also has a Conn Smythe! What’s the problem with him being the highest paid on that team?

  11. jonkchar - Jan 8, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    did someone seriously recommend trading Kunitz?

  12. beergold - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Shero is no dummy and will get it done, one of the best GM’s in the league and knows the value of putting on a great on ice product to attract the players that want to be winners/contenders!

    You guys have a REAL pro in Shero – we in TO on the other hand are saddled with a dud and an organization that has NO concept of creating and sustaining a team that attracts winners.

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