Report: Evgeni Malkin To Not Be Happy If Neal Is Dealt


Feb 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) reacts after scoring a goal with left wing James Neal (18) against the New York Rangers during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to be active at Friday’s NHL Draft, and they have already been receiving inquiries.

According to Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh has reportedly been entertaining calls for forward James Neal, however, if he’s dealt, center Evgeni Malkin will apparently not be happy.

The Penguins are probably going to lose winger Jussi Jokinen to free agency after producing great numbers this past season, and Malkin will reportedly unsatisfied with the fact he’ll be working alongside two new wingers should Neal be traded.

Rossi reported that people who are tied with Malkin are apparently keeping tabs to Neal’s situation.

Malkin and Neal have been well-documented to be the closest of friends, so it’s understandable that Malkin would be upset if his buddy were shipped off. However, considering the team’s playoff flux, and the beneficial package Pittsburgh could get in return for Neal, Malkin’s temporary feelings could ease in time.

So far though, there’s no indication that Pittsburgh will relinquish Neal. Rossi also reported that general manager Jim Rutherford is not inclined to trade Neal.

In 59 regular-season games last season, Neal compiled 61 points (27G, 34A) with a plus-15 rating, and collected four points (2G, 2A) in 13 playoff contests.