Impending free agent Evgeni Malkin desires to retire in Pittsburgh however ‘If the staff says it’s best to transfer on, I am advantageous’

The Pittsburgh Penguins have an important offseason ahead of them that could change the landscape of the Metropolitan Division. A few core players, who helped them win multiple Stanley Cups, will be unrestricted free agents. That includes Russian star Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin spoke to the media on Tuesday at the Pens’ Breakdown Day. The major topic of discussion was his future with the franchise. The Russian center wants to retire in Pittsburgh but the Pens may have other plans.

“I believe I am still a good player and I believe good players sign good contracts,” Malkin said. “I hope we sign a good deal. I only can say right now I want to play like three or four years. Money is not a big deal, but I have family, I have parents, I want a good future for them.

“I understand it’s a business,” he continued. “I love this city, I love these fans so much. But if the team wants young blood and new guys and says ‘you should move on’, I’m fine. I hope I stay here. I hope I retire here.”

Some of those comments ring a little louder than others when paired with a report that came from Rob Rossi of The Athletic. Rossi went on 93.7 that the Penguins reportedly offered both Malkin and Kris Letang three year deals worth a total of $15 million and $5 million annually. Rossi added that those “lowball offers” were said to upset team captain Sidney Crosby.

“I think we all feel the same way. We’ve been fortunate enough to play together for a long time,” Crosby said himself on Breakdown Day. “There’s a lot of belief and trust in one another. We understand that it’s not something that can happen forever, but hopefully a little bit longer.”

“Three (more years), for sure, and then we’ll see after that,” Sid continued when asked about how much longer he thinks he has left in his career. “I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Three, definitely. I’m glad Geno said three and Tanger said 5-plus probably. Not surprised at either of those answers.”

The other two large pieces that are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents are Letang and forward Bryan Rust.

“You’d like to maximize everything,” Rust said when it was his turn in front of reporters. “But I think for me, it’s just getting to a point where I feel like I’ve gotten what I’ve earned and what I feel like I’m worth. I feel like I’ve played to a higher level than what my contract has said the last few years. Moving forward, just getting something that’s fair and I feel like that will benefit me and my family moving forward.”

Letang played his cards a little closer to his chest, declining to say anything about any contract negotiations.

“As far as contracts, me and Hexy (Ron Hextall) were clear that we were not mentioning anything to anyone. It stays between me and the team,” he said.

Big names also needing new contracts include Kasperi Kapanen, Rickard Rakell, Danton Heinen, Evan Rodrigues, Brian Boyle, Nathan Beaulieu, Casey DeSmith, Louis Domingue, and Alex D’Orio. All of these players made contributions to the Pens on smaller contracts and will be looking for raises.

Malkin’s possible availability may raise some eyebrows in DC. With reports that Nicklas Backstrom may be headed for surgery with a longterm recovery, it’s possible Geno could be a fit with the Capitals. If Backstrom’s $9.2 million salary is played on a long-term injured reserve, that would open up cap space for the possible signing of Malkin.

Malkin is already good pals with the Capitals’ Russian core that features Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Ilya Samsonov, Aliaksei Protas (Belorussian), and Alexander Alexeyev.

Anyways, this should be an intriguing summer.

Headline photo: Penguins

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