Penguins Upcoming Free Agent Malkin Sign ’em or Trade ’em

Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have some tough decisions to make. We all know the March 21.2022 NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and that means upcoming Free Agents are officially on the Trading Block.  Or are they?

Guess who is an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of 2021-2022…Yup…#71.

Would you sign him right now, to a Long-Term Deal?  To a Term Deal?  Or Trade Him?

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Let’s look at Evgeni Malkin #71 Center, as of March07.2022 and discuss what to do.

A 2004 Draft Pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Malkin has played his entire career with Pittsburgh.  He became a leader on this team, and is a member of the Core 3, (Crosby, Malkin, Letang who have won Cups together in 2009,2016,2017).

#71 has played some, out of this world hockey during his time with the Penguins.  He is used in a few situations; like scoring highlight reel goals on Offense and making tape to tape passes on the Power Play, to name a few.  He is getting his timing back in the face-off circle and his Defensive level of commitment, should pick up by the playoff time.

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Malkin #71 – By the Numbers

Note:  Malkin was injured for most of the 2021 season. His first game back was Jan 11.2022 vs the Ducks.

8th in Team Scoring with 24 Points. (10 Goals -14 Assists = 24 Points)

8th on the team with 10 Goals.

9th on the team with 14 Assists.

Malkin has scored 24 points in 21 games played so far this season.

Malkin put together a nice 9 game points streak from Jan17 to Feb01.2022, where he scored 10 points during this time. (3 Goals and 7 Assists)

Malkin Most Points in a season 113 – 2008-2009

Malkin Most Goals in a season 50 – 2011-2012

Malkin Most Assists in a season 78 – 2008-2009

The Penguins rank 13th overall in the NHL in Power Play at 22.0% up from the 10.8% conversion rate in October 2021.

Malkin has been a big part of the Penguins Power Play resurgence in 2022.  As of January 01.2022, the Penguin Power Play is clipping at a 29.1% conversion rate, ranking #1 in the NHL over this time.

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Game Play

The Left-Handed shooting Malkin is a generational talent and someone who you build a franchise around.  Every Stanley Cup contender needs or has at least one or two of these Players.  He is one of the Leaders in the dressing room as well on the ice.  He makes the Power Play click, with his vision, perfect passes, and his ability to score goals.  He is a big, strong, highly skilled forward, who knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.

Malkin is in the final year of his contract, making $9,500,000.  The rumour has it that Malkin is open to taking a Hometown Discount in order to remain a Penguin for Life.  He really wants to finish his career as a Penguin.  We shall see.

Malkin says he has made alot of money already.  He is right, however, money makes people do funny things.

Comparables as of March 07.2022

2018-2019 season stats

Backstrom – Wash – Age 34 – 74 Points $9.2 Million Per Season

Zibanejad – NYR – Age 28 – 74 Points $5.350 Million Per Season

Larkin –Det – Age 25 – 73 Points $6.1 Million Per Season

Kusnetsov – Wash – Age 29 – 72 Points $7.8 Million Per Season

Malkin – Pitts – Age 35 – 72 Points $9.500 Million Per Season

Pittsburgh Penguins as of March07.2022

34-14-9 = 77 Points

2nd -Tied in the Metropolitan Division (Up from 7th Place in Oct)

4th Tied-in the Eastern conference (Up from 13th Place in Oct)

5th Tied-in the NHL overall (Up from 22nd overall in Oct)

Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the #3 Playoff Spot, in the Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference).

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My View from the Cheap Seats

Malkin #71 has been a great Penguin and will go down as one of the All-Time Great Penguins.  He has earned everything that he has made to date.  As mentioned above, he is a True Leader who can still play All-World Hockey.

The cold hard fact is Malkin is now in the “High Injury Prone” stage of his career.  In 2018-2019 Malkin played in 68 games.  Since then, he has played in 55, 33 and now 21 games so far this year.  It’s really tough to score from the Injured Reserve List.

Malkin could command big bucks as a Free Agent on the Free Market, for certain teams.

Who could the Penguins get for Malkin, if they are thinking of trading him?

The Penguins are a good, solid team right now, and are ready to make a run for the Stanley Cup this year. They returned from the Abyss earlier in the season, worked out the kinks are battle-tested ready for the playoffs.  Malkin at age 35, is a key cog in this run for the cup and the straw that stirs the Penguins Power Play.

As the Penguins near closer to the March 21.2022 NHL trade Deadline, they are looking to win now as well as Win in the future.  I see this playing out in 3 ways.

1.Signing Malkin to a Large Long-Term Contract, will severely handcuff the Penguins Cap structure, for the remaining term of this proposed deal.

2.Signing Malkin to a 3-Year Contract, matching the term left on the Crosby #87 contract, is an option, again as long as the money is right.  And by right, I mean a serious Hometown Discount somewhere to in the $5 Million category or less would be better.  You might be able to add incentives for games played and points scored, if necessary.

3.Play it out this season.  Win the Cup. And maybe part ways if Malkin wants to get rich elsewhere.

In my humble opinion, Malkin is a great Penguin, and I would love to keep him for the right price.  As mentioned above, it’s gotta be a severe discount from $9.5 Million or it’s a no go.  As you know, in todays Cap Era, a bad long-term contract can hand-cuff a franchise.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the Penguins still have these Upcoming Free Agents to consider Signing or Trading…

The A-List

Letang #58 – Defense

Rust #17 – Forward

Rodrigues #9 – Forward

Kapanen #42 – Forward

The B-List

…is for another time

Quote of the Day

“I’m not paying you for the player you used to be, I’m paying you for the player you are right now.”

Billy Beane  – GM – Oakland A’s