Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?
We only ask, because this is what TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted last night:
If Pens lose series in 4 or 5 games the offseason storylines may be interesting. Some think Malkin becomes a trade target. Tough call.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 6, 2013
Malkin, 26, has one year remaining on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. According to CapGeek, he has a no-movement clause for the 2013-14 season.
The reasons for not trading Malkin aren’t hard to list:
---- He’s one of the best players in the world.
---- Centers are hard enough to come by in the NHL, let alone world-class centers.
---- He’s still young. Which is to say, this isn’t like the Joe Thornton debate in San Jose, where you’re talking about a guy on the wrong side of 30.
That being said, it all depends what the Penguins could get in return, and also what they could acquire with the cap space they’d gain. Because in case you haven’t been watching, there are big question marks about the quality of Pittsburgh’s defense and goaltending.
Speaking of which, what’s Kris Letang’s future with the Pens? Like Malkin, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. While Letang’s point production has been impressive in the playoffs, his defensive play has been suspect, particularly against the Bruins.
Struggling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is another face of the franchise the Penguins will have to make a decision on. He’s got two years left on his contract before he’s free to go wherever.
For general manager Ray Shero, this summer promises to be one full of tough calls. Pending UFAs include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Malkin, Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.
The Penguins aren’t done yet. They could still make it a series with a win tomorrow in Boston. But down 3-0, their chances of coming all the way back are slim.