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Penguins make the right decision with Malkin

Jun 13, 2013, 12:37 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin Getty Images

You do not trade a player like Evgeni Malkin unless you absolutely have to.

You don’t trade him because the salary cap is going down.

You certainly don’t trade him because of one bad playoff series.

We get why there was speculation, but in the end, the Pittsburgh Penguins made the right call.

Malkin is only 26 years old. He’s already won a Stanley Cup. He was the named the MVP of the league last year. He’s scored 100-plus points three times.

Actually, when you put it that way, maybe we don’t get why there was speculation.

With Sidney Crosby, Malkin gives the Penguins the most dangerous one-two center combination in the NHL.

“When you have two world-class players like this, you do everything you can to keep them,” said Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero.

Not that Malkin is perfect. He’s in no danger of winning the Selke Trophy, for example. But ask the Toronto Maple Leafs how difficult it is to find an elite center outside of the draft. Ask the Calgary Flames.

There’s no precise blueprint to building a Stanley Cup winner, especially in the salary-cap age where a team can’t have everything. But two world-class centers, a stud defenseman, and a great goalie are the four pieces that typically go at the top of the list.

Pittsburgh has two out of four signed long-term now. Depending how you feel about Kris Letang, there may be the potential to lock up a third. The goalie question is a massive one going forward.

  1. hockey412 - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    It’s great that they locked him up long term. People seem to miss that his new contract is less than a million more a year than his old one. I’d bet that both Crosby and Malkin took less than they’d get on the market…you get that type of deal, you run with it. Letang’s issue is a little more complex….very few can move the puck up ice the way he can, and it’s possible you can sacrifice Martin to make room and rely on Despres to fill Martin’s void, but still…tougher call.

    • bmscalise - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      Indeed- the difference is very little from what it’s been not just this year but for years. And last time I checked, they were doing alright.

      Also- all these “cap crippling” fools posting on here seem oblivious to the jump the cap is going to take in the next couple of years. Next season will be tough- but any deal for Malkin (and Letang) doesn’t take effect until the following year, when the cap will be back up close to 70 million again, given how well the league is doing. And they WILL sign Letang for the same reason.

  2. theageofquarrel - Jun 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Of course they did.

  3. Windmiller4 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    This is a great move to sign him. But, for the long term trading him might’ve been the best bet. A player like that could command literally any player in the league plus way more. They could get back a very good number one center like Kopitar, Statsny, Getzlaf, Koivu, the list goes on with players who would excel in the Pens system as a number two guy. Imagine the picks and prospects they could get for him. And Geno always seems to play better when Crosby isn’t in the lineup, just because he becomes the go to guy. They could trade Malkin to the Avs for the number one pick, Stastny, the avs first round pick for the next 3 years, plus a couple of prospects. A world class player like him wouldn’t come cheap, and the return for the Pens could be more than you could imagine. Still, signing him is a great move, and either route would keep the Pens competitive for a long time. Congrats to Geno on the contract

    • proudlyfrenchcanadian - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      I’ll never get those 36 seconds it took me to read this back, thanks though.

      • Windmiller4 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        And you’ll never get back the 10 it took you to write your comment. If thats the case than quit wasting your time reading the comments section frenchy

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      Why would young, building teams make that trade?

      • Windmiller4 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        I never said it had to be a rebuilding team, i was just using the Avs as an example. The wild coud trade away Koivu, Clutterbuck, + more peices and picks for malkin. Now imagine Malkin and Parise together on a line, maybe with Setoguci there too. The Ducks could do it, hell even the Kings.

  4. dadawg77 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    One thing, the Hawks have Toews/Kane/Keith for roughly the same cap hit. While those contracts were agreed to in different circumstances, wonder if to win in the NHL, your core’s contracts wont be able to be negotiated while they are UFAs.

  5. heyzeus143 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    World class regular season players

    • 19to77 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      Malkin won the Conn Smythe. Your move.

    • kitshky - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      …with their names on the Stanley Cup.

      • laxman1944 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        4 years ago……….next

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      They had one bad series, get a clue

      • dtownbeatdown - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Bad would be an understatement. They were terrible, I still believe Crosby and Malkin are some of the best forwards in the league, but they are paid to show up in the playoffs. They did not in the eastern conference championship.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        Yea it’s great to make a decision based on 4 games

      • laxman1944 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        They choked Flow…….deal with it

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM

        I’m glad they lost, I live in Boston. I just don’t like morons like this guy trying to proclaim two of the best players in the world stink because they poorly for a 4 game stretch

      • laxman1944 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        If they,re 2 of the best where we’re they against Boston?.


        0 points

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        Apparently you’re just too stupid to read. It’s 4 games.

      • laxman1944 - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        4 years my friend ………..4 years

      • killerpgh - Jun 13, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        In those 4 years Malkin has 35 pts in 34 games. Crosby has 42 pts in 33 games. Yet somehow you think they are the problem.

      • pghcityofchamps - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        Laxman – which series did you watch? How can you possibly say they choked? SERIOUSLY????? Stop talking out of your asshole and give some credit to Boston and Tuuka Rask for shutting them down. It wasn’t due from a lack of effort…those two constantly put the heat and pressure on, created some phenomenal moves and plays, hit the iron, and got robbed by some great saves I don’t know how many times. They both could very easily have had 3 to 4 goals each…but it wasn’t meant to be. Boston had the answer to shutting us down, and we didn’t make the proper adjustments in time to win…give Boston the kudos they deserve.

  6. dsonashville28 - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    “But ask the Toronto Maple Leafs how difficult it is to find an elite center outside of the draft. Ask the Calgary Flames.”

    Ask the Nashville Predators. They can’t find a true #1 center via any method.

  7. isithockeyseasonyet - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Probably the right decision but what does that mean for the rest of their roster, only time will tell

    • hockeydon10 - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      It means they’ll have to rely on one stud defenseman under contract and hope that a defenseman prospect becomes the other one.

      Defense wins championships, the old saying goes. Teams seem to do best with two excellent defensemen, or one Norris worthy guy and one very good d-man. Just look at the last 5 cup winners.


  8. dtownbeatdown - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    As much

  9. dtownbeatdown - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    As much as I’d love Malkin as a Red Wing, they made the right move. You just can’t let a guy like Malkin go. Thanks for ruining my dream scenario Pittsburgh, I’d loved to see datsyuk and malkin side by side. Oh well. That is alot if money tied up for the next 8 years it will be interesting to see what moves they do and do not make.

  10. bobhpine - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    Looking forward to watching Geno through 2022. Great player, great team guy. 87 and 71 left a combined 60 mil on the tale to stay in Pittsburgh and give Shero more room to sign players to help them win.

    Hate these guys if you want to, but their dedication to the game and to their team is really remarkable. Malkin and Crosby could have easily maxed out at 12.8 mil per year for the max term. They are signed for 9.5 and 8.7 respectively. That’s not a rounding error, that’s serious cash.

    I would have taken the money.

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