Penguins' Evgeni Malkin opens up about the future: ``I wish I could stay here.  I hope forever.

Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin opens up about the future: “I wish I could stay here. I hope forever.

For 16 years, Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby have been the last two to make their way out of the tunnel as their team prepares for the puck tournament, and they are the last two to step on the ice in front of the Pittsburgh Penguins believers. The duo led the organization through a decade and a half – four Stanley Cup finals, three championship processions, along with four scoring titles and 10 nods to the best player among them.

It’s unclear if the black and gold duo will get back together for the 17th year.

In the final season of an eight-year, $76 million deal signed with Pittsburgh in 2013, Malkin is heading into this unrestricted season as an unrestricted free agent. In the meantime, his club have to make some tough decisions after being knocked out in the first round by a fourth straight – a drop after losing in the second round to the eventual champions in 2018, and back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.

Complicating matters further is the fact that top-ranked defender Chris Letang is also from the UFA, along with versatile winger Bryan Rust, and a number of other depth pieces.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday as his Penguins closed the book on a disappointing conclusion to the 2021-22 season, Malkin made his position clear as negotiations continued over a potential new deal.

“It’s hard for me to say now,” Malkin said when asked if he expected to stay with the penguins. “We only lost a couple of days ago. It still hurts. I understand it’s business. I love this city, I love these fans so much. But I know, if the team wants fresh blood, guys, [if they] Tell me, “You should go ahead,” I’m fine. I understand it’s been a bit of a tough year for me. But we’ll see, I’m glad to be here 16 years – great city, great fans. We’ll see what happens.

“I hope to stay here. I hope forever. I am retiring here. But again, I understand it is business.”

While many throughout the hockey world have wondered aloud what Malkin’s next number could look like, one thing is certain: it will surely be less than the $9.5 million he earned this season. After that, though, opinions differ.

The 35-year-old has missed a significant amount of time due to injuries over the past three seasons, but has been close to or above a point-per-game pace when he was healthy, showing flashes of world-class skill that have earned him a pair. From 100 points (and two titles to score) in his younger days. In his latest 32 Ideas, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reports that the penguins’ owners and owners have discussed a three-year deal, but are far apart on a cap number.

Malkin joked that money was not a factor in his next contract earlier this season, but on Tuesday made clear how that number would realistically affect his decision to move forward.

“It’s hard. I think I’m still a good player. I think good players sign good contracts,” he said. “If I once said ‘I’m a rich guy,’ it doesn’t mean I deserve a million dollar contract. But I mean, I knew my price and my agent knew my price, and I think the team knew my price. Again, it’s work. But we’ll see what happens. Hope we can sign a good deal.

“I want to play three or four years. Money is not an important thing, but I have a family, I have parents. I want a good future for them.”

If 71 does end up moving from Pittsburgh, it will be close to an exciting chapter for the faithful penguins, one that has seen Malkin and Crosby keep the Penguins among the NHL class for the majority of their time together. .

It’s a journey the smooth skating Russians hope to continue. But he’s preparing for the end, too, should his story continue in Pittsburgh.

“Pittsburgh is my second hometown. I’m 16 here, it’s amazing,” Malkin said. “I hope we find a way for everyone [be] Happy you know. It’s amazing to be playing 20 or 19 or whatever, with one club. amazing thing. …the salary cap has not changed that much this year. All this worked. But I’m ready [for] Either way – if I stayed, I’d be much happier. But if not, well, I’ll move my family to another city and hopefully give my best in hockey.”

For numbers 87 and 58, and Malkin’s success with the pair, the quarterback made it clear that the Trio League is beyond the game at this point, no matter what happens next.

“Amazing. My two brothers—one Canadian and one French Canadian,” said Crosby and Letang, laughing. “I mean, I love both. It’s not just hockey, it’s life. We’ve spent a lot of time together, and we know each other very well. Sir is a great guy – he’s my favorite player, my favorite guy.”

But the core of the negotiations taking place behind closed doors is not all that Malkin has accomplished in Pittsburgh, but what he can achieve going forward. What kind of player could he be in these last few seasons of his career in the big league.

Although he knows skeptics are writing him off, former artist Art Ross, Hart Trophy and Conn Smythe believe he can return to the form that made him one of the best players in the world for over a decade.

He said, “I believe in myself.” “I know it’s been a tough year for me, it’s a big injury. But now I will [get] A little bit of rest, and it will probably be the hardest summer of my life for sure. I want to go back to the next level next year, and show my best for sure. I want to play all 82 matches, and again do the playoffs – I still think I’ll play [in a] Final or semi-final. I think we still have a chance if you stay here. We still have great organisation, great coach. We still have a chance to win. …I know that when I’m healthy, I know that when I’m feeling confident, I’m a good player.

“I believe in my body. I trust myself. And this summer it will be good for me – I will rest a little more, without injury. I feel amazing. It’s a new challenge for me, for sure – I want to get back to my level, and prove that I’m still a good player.”

2022-05-17 21:35:00

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