Eight More Years for Evgeni Malkin


Under the new CBA a player looking to sign an extension with his current team is limited to a term of 8 years. Under the new CBA the maximum value of a contract is limited to 20% of the value of the salary cap for the year in which the new contract will begin. That was all we Penguins fans knew for sure as Evgeni Malkin, his agent JP Barry, his Russian advisor Gennady Ushakov, and Penguins General Manager Ray Shero entered negotiations on a long-term deal earlier this week. Now we know a lot more, to the tune of 8 years, $76 million dollars, a $9.5 million annual cap hit.

And if you don’t think that’s a big concession on Geno’s part, then I’m sorry for you. We wrote all along that Geno’s next deal *OUGHT* to make him the highest paid player (at least cap number-wise) in the league. This deal does not, he will still trail Alex Ovechkin by nearly $40,000/year. This deal leaves more than $3 million on the table compared to what the league maximum $12.8 million/year contract would be for next year. It leaves $5.5 million on the table compared to what the Russian government had offered Geno and other elite Russian players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ovechkin to return and play in the KHL. That is a major concession on Geno’s behalf.

Occasionally people seem to think that trading Malkin is a good idea. It’s not. I understand that people view him as quintessentially “Russian,” occasionally hot-headed, occasionally less than 100%. But the numbers don’t lie. Everyone says Sidney Crosby (we agree), he’s won an Art Ross, a Hart, a Ted Lindsay and a Rocket Richard Trophy. Evgeni Malkin is regarded as “one of only two players to challenge Sidney Crosby for the title of the best player in the world” and he’s won the Calder, two Art Ross’s, a Hart, a Ted Lindsay, and a Conn Smythe. Last I checked that’s more. And the most important one is the last one, the Conn Smythe. Think fast: name one really important, game changing playoff goal that Sidney Crosby has scored. Think even faster: name three that Geno has scored.

That’s why Geno got paid, that’s why the season wasn’t even over for a week before the Penguins worked out a framework to keep him in Pittsburgh for 8 more years. He’s the last skater to win the Conn Smythe (and that will definitely continue for another year, it can only either be Crawford or Rask this year) and this team lives and dies with him come playoff time. Since his rookie season in 2006-2007 the Penguins have not missed the playoffs. In that time the team has made three deep playoff pushes (including this year) in each of those efforts Geno has always been the best player for the Penguins (a trend that continued this year). That’s why it’s impossible to trade Geno. If you want to win the Stanley Cup, or at least compete for it year in and year out, you need a superstar game breaker in the playoffs. That is Geno Malkin.


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