EDM:

3

DET:

2

3rd

08:31

SEA:

0

NYI:

4

3rd

01:19

VGK:

4

NSH:

1

3rd

18:33

ANA:

2

CHI:

2

2nd

03:37

COL:

1

PIT:

2

Final

SJS:

4

TBL:

3

Final

Time for the Penguins to cut Evgeni Malkin

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It has been an amazing ride, but someone has to go.

Now under new ownership, the Pittsburgh Penguins have two of the most recognizable names on the unrestricted free agent market – star center Evgeni Malkin and star defenseman Kris Letang – and it’s unlikely the team will retain both.

The salary cap is not the issue, but a franchise in dire need of cutting some loose ends. And this is not a slight at Malkin, who, like Letang, was a significant contributor to the Pens’ last three Stanley Cup championship victories (2009, 2016, 2017).

Malkin, who turns 36-years-of-age on July 31, has not played in 70 or more games in a single season in the last five years. Yes, he did score 42 points in 41 games this season, which is not a bad tally, but was it worth a $9.5 million price tag?

As the saying goes, “Don’t stay stuck in the past because if you stay stuck in the past, you will never see what life has to offer you.”

Bear in mind, Letang is the same age as Malkin. He led all Penguins players in time-on-ice (5:46 of ice time per game) and followed up with a career-high 58 assists and 68 points in 78 games. Forwards Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel, and Bryan Rust can fill the void left behind by Malkin, but general manager Ron Hextall won’t be able to find a replacement for Letang that can put up those kinds of numbers at a team-friendly price.

Although some say the Penguins need more depth behind the net, they have a solid goaltender in Tristan Jarry. For instance, he had a better GAA (2.42) than Colorado Avalanche starting netminder Darcy Kuemper (2.54) during the regular season despite playing 160 more minutes. The Pens also have a solid backup in Casey DeSmith, who went a respectable 11-6 during the regular season.

Although it would be cute for Marc-Andre Fleury to end his surefire Hall of Fame career as a Penguin, he was awful in the playoffs for the Minnesota Wild, going 2-3 with a 3.04 GAA. With a price tag around $6 million, that’s literally pointless to entertain. The Penguins need to be focused on rebuilding and not revolving backward. A 37-year-old Fleury will not get this team into the playoffs.

If the Penguins swing for the fences on the unrestricted free agent market, Filip Forsberg, 27, is a solid play. The kid is still young and had a stellar season with 42 goals and 42 assists. Pairing him with Crosby, who had a career resurgence in 2021-2022, could be an electric, terrifying combination.

Interview w/Bruins' Jack Ahcan Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

Episode 51: Interview w/Jack Ahcan Episode 51 is back in action talking about the New York Paingers ITR bet, Can Buffalo Sabres make the playoffs? Is Vancouver in the wrong on the Boudreau treatment? Is Tocchet the right guy? Is Daryl Sutter the last Dinosaur in the NHL?YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@insidetherinkTwitter: https://twitter.com/CueTheDuckBoatzFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cuetheduckboats/Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news. Also, catch all of the games in this year's NHL season by signing up for ESPN+ at Insidetherink.com/ESPN
  1. Interview w/Bruins' Jack Ahcan
  2. Half Way There
  3. The Boys are Back!
  4. 2022 Bruins Prospect Interviews
  5. Interview w/Bruins' Marc Mclaughlin

Ryan O'Hara

Award-winning sportswriter from Denver, Colorado.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Game Preview: Penguins vs Avalanche

The Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Colorado Avalanche tonight at 7 PM at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins are currently 24-16-9, while the Avalanche currently sit at 27-18-3. The game will be available to watch on AT&T Sportsnet and AltitudeTV2.  Forward Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Bowen Byram will return for the Avalanche. Nichushkin missed the […]

Read More

Rangers Need Shesterkin to Be at His Best For The Rest of the Season

It has been quite an inconsistent season for the New York Rangers this year. They looked like world beaters to start the season, then they lost a few games, then they won a few games, then they dropped a whole bunch of games and were even booed on home ice at Madison Square Garden. Fast […]

Read More

Canadiens & Sharks Could Make Blockbuster Trade at 2023 Deadline

At this point of the season, the Montreal Canadiens currently have a 20-27-4 record and are at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. With their playoff hopes essentially being nonexistent, they are expected to be sellers at the 2023 Trade Deadline. As a result, players like Sean Monahan, Evgeni Dadonov, Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson, Jonathan […]

Read More