Penguins GM — In a perfect world, Kris Letang and Evgenimalkin would remain in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall Wants to find a way? Evgeni Malkin Kris Letang For the rest of their lives, they should stay with the club.

Hextall stated Monday that “In a perfect universe (Malkin), retires a Penguin.” “And Tanger is the same,” Hextall said Monday.

But in a perfect world.

The NHL is not the same in the salary cap era.

Hextall was asked why a team with a 3-1 lead had lost this season. way in a first-round loss to the New York RangersHe laughed and said, “A little more cap space would make a great joke.”

He isn't getting it.

During the highly successful era that saw Malkin, Letang, as longtime captains, the Penguins have routinely spent more than the cap limit. Sidney Crosby. Fenway Sports Group is now signing the checks, ensuring that the “spend to win” mentality will not change. after buying the club from Ron Burkle and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux last fall.

The question is, however, how much money will the Penguins offer a pair if 35-year old franchise icons who are less that two months away from entering free agency.

Letang doesn't seem to have lost one step. Letang is coming off a season where he scored a record-breaking 68 points and played a little more responsibly in his own game. He averaged a remarkable 25:47 of ice-time and stated last week that he'd love to play at least five more seasons.

Letang is also ending a $7.25m per season contract. Given his production and fitness, it is reasonable to believe he would command a little more on the open market. Letang however stated last week his preference would be to find a way to stay Pittsburgh

Malkin feels the exact same way, but his situation is more difficult. Malkin said last week that “good players sign great contracts”. While he scored 20 goals in this season's first half despite missing almost half the year due to a torn ligament in his right knee, he was unable to be effective in 5-on-5 situations and still earned $9.5 million. In July, he turns 36 and has missed 10 or more games because of injuries nine times in the last 10 seasons.

Hextall stated that he wouldn't give details about the nature of the talks between the team and Malkin and Letang but suggested that he doesn't worry about their age.

He stated, “They're both fantastic athletes.” “They've been together a long time. Both of them are performing at a high standard right now. We would be delighted to have them both in the mix for September.”

The two largest pieces of an extremely complicated puzzle Hextall must piece together this summer are Letang and Malkin. Forwards Evan Rodrigues, Brian BoyleRickard Rakell, backup goaltender Casey DeSmith Forwards will be free agents Danton Heinen The mysterious, Kasperi Kapanen Agents are not restricted.

Hextall did secure one piece of this puzzle. signing forward Bryan Rust Over the weekend, Rust signed a six year deal that will keep the versatile Stanley Cup winner in place through 2028. Rust, who scored 34 goals and had 24 assists in this season's NHL playoffs, recently underwent what Hextall described as a minor procedure on his knees. He should be back at training camp shortly.

Hextall should have a clear picture of his team's immediate goals by then. Hextall feels he knows the team's immediate history and praises his Penguins teammates for their resilience in a season that saw Crosby, Malkin, and an outbreak of COVID-19. Pittsburgh's playoff streak was extended to 16 years. This is the longest active streak in professional North American sports.

However, the Penguins haven't reached the first round since 2018. This is not the norm for a team playing in an arena that has five Stanley Cup banners hanging from its rafters.

Six months into FSG’s tenure there seems to be no rush to make big changes, even in the front offices. Hextall, who assumed the role in February 2021 following Jim Rutherford's sudden resignation, seems like he will have a chance at leading the team through the early stages of Crosby’s Hall of Fame career.

Hextall stated, “Everything's good.” “Fenway Sports Group is completely committed to winning. … We have some ideas that we are considering in terms staff and other things. We are moving ahead.”

Leave a Comment