Evgeni Malkin called Pittsburgh as her second home. He also believes, however, that “good players have signed great contracts,” which will force general manager Ron Hextall to work hard to keep the main Penguins intact.
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Sidney Crosby and Kristopher Letang have been three mainstays of Pennsylvania’s roster for more than 15 years and helped it win three Stanley Cups.
However, Letang and Malkin will soon be free agents and that could mean the end of an era.
“There’s a reason these three guys have played for the same organization as long as they have. They set the standard for what it means to be a Penguins,” head coach Mike Sullivan well explained in the end -of -season review. on Tuesday about the importance of the line.
Malkin, he just has good words for everyone. He indicated his willingness to stay on the team and retire in black and yellow uniform. He seems proud of the successes he has achieved with Crosby and Malkin.
“It’s amazing,” Malkin said of his two colleagues. They were like my two brothers, a Canadian and a French Canadian. It’s not just hockey, it’s life. We spent so much time together. “Sid” is a great guy. He’s my favorite player, my favorite guy. “
The Russian, who has 20 goals and 42 points in 41 games this season, also believes the team, if it stays intact, can still aspire to top honors.
“I still want to play a final or a semi-final and I think we still have a chance if I stay here. We have a great organization, a great coach and we still have a chance to win. “
However, his own family will always be a priority in his eyes.
“Money isn’t that important, but I have a family, parents, and I want a good future for them.”
The DG puzzle is not limited to the core. Seven forwards, two defensemen and two goaltenders will be free agents, for a total of 11 expired contracts. Only two of them, Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen, were paid.
Only Bryan Rust can be the player to pivot the future of the club. He has 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) in 60 games this season, so he will have the tools to get a big raise. He earned $ 3.5 million last season.
“I’m not looking to rob anyone, I just want what I think is right; a reasonable contract, he says. I think and I hope. I like to think we can find common ground. “
Despite moderate expectations by pundits, the Penguins qualified for the playoffs with a 103-point season before losing a tough seven-game battle to the New York Rangers in the first round.
Kristopher Letang wants to play for another five years
Photo in archive, Martin Chevalier
Kristopher Letang declined to comment on current negotiations between his agents and Panguins general manager Ron Hextall, but reaffirmed his intention to stay in Pittsburgh.
The 35-year-old fullback had his most prolific season of his career in 2021-22 with 10 goals and 68 points in 78 games.
“The main goal is always to stay here and play in Pittsburgh,” Letang said in his review during Tuesday. I definitely tried to help build something good here and I want that to continue. “
“When it comes to contracts, me and ‘Hexy’ are clear that we are not talking to anyone. It remains between the team and me.
The former Val-d’Or Foreurs has also indicated that his health is in good shape and retirement seems far out of sight. He believes he can play another four or five seasons, though, he’s taking his training seriously off the ice with that in mind.
Quebecer Mike Matheson has had the opportunity to play with Letang this season and he believes he has developed good chemistry with one he considers role models.
“He was one of the guys I always looked up to growing up and I watched him play.
“There are times when I really have to pinch myself when I play with him, especially in the playoffs. I think we played well together.