PITTSBURGH Evgeni MalkinWants to remain in Pittsburgh. So does Kris Letang. The only NHL city they have ever called home offers comfort. There's also success.
It is the reason why neither three-time Stanley Cup winner has ever been sold on the open marketplace during their long careers. That is, until now.
Malkin and Letang wanted to keep speculation about their future off until early summer at the latest, but that is not possible. Not after Pittsburgh's devastating Game 7 loss to the Titans. New York RangersIn the first round, the disappointing result for this proud franchise was all too common.
Malkin and Letang spent Tuesday cleaning out lockers in preparation for an Eastern Conference semifinal.
Both expressed their desire to play alongside captains. Sidney CrosbyFor as long as they can. Both are well aware that what is best for them and what is best for the Penguins may not be the same thing.
Malkin declared, “I'm ready leave,” “If I stay, so much (happier). It's okay if you don't. I'll move my family to another place and play hockey as best as possible.
Malkin, who turns 36 this July, scored 20 goal despite missing the entire season because of knee surgery in June. He is still a strong force in the power play and said he looks forward to the offseason to get back to his best.
“I know I am older,” he stated. “I believe in my abilities. Although it was a hard year for my, I am aware of the serious injury. However, this summer was probably the hardest in my entire life. I want to be back at the next level next year, showing my best.
Pittsburgh's question is: at what cost? Malkin's last contract had an average annual value $9.5million. He stressed that money is not a major deal, but his next contract will most likely be his last chance at cashing in. He said he would like to continue playing for 3-4 years, and dismissed reports that he was considering returning to Russia. This is something players do often towards the end of their careers.
Malkin, a four-time All-Star with Hart, Conn and Smythe trophies, will not be short of suitors. Crosby or Letang will not be offered the opportunity to play with them. The trio has been the cornerstone of a remarkable run that included three Cup championships and 16 consecutive playoff appearances, the longest active streak of major North American professional sporting events.
Malkin stated, “I love them both,” It's not just about hockey. It's life.”
Letang, 35, appears to be improving with age after accumulating a career-best score of 68 points. He would like to play for another five years. Letang figures to have earned a substantial pay increase from the $7.25m he earned over the course his contract in 2014.
Letang refused to negotiate in public and said he had made a promise that he would to the general manager Ron HextallThey should keep their conversations private. Letang highlighted his long-standing relationship with the team to prove his loyalty.
“I tried (certainly) to help create something good here, and obviously want it to continue,” he stated, adding later that “it's an exceptional group, a team that can win any battle.”
Since 2018, the Penguins have not advanced beyond the first round. They felt they outplayed Rangers for long stretches in their seven-game thriller. In the end, however, it didn’t matter. They gave away leads in the last three games to give New York a chance.
Fenway Sports Group bought the team from Ron Burkle, a Hall of Famer. This was their first season. Mario LemieuxLetang was last year's litmus test. They could give Crosby and Malkin and Letang an opportunity to continue the winning streak. They could reset and start over with Crosby, who turns 35 this July. However, he looked just as dangerous as ever in the Rangers' game against Crosby before missing a part of Game 5 after taking a blow to the head.
Crosby declined to answer if he felt he had the right of deciding the direction the club takes in the offseason. However, he reiterated his intention to continue playing until the end 2025 of his current contract.
Crosby added that he hasn't kept his desire to keep Malkin or Letang around a secret.
He said, “We know it's not something we can do forever.” “Hopefully, we can continue playing together for a little while longer. It's unique, it's special.”
It could be over by mid-July.
This report was compiled by the Associated Press.