Trade chatter has grown louder in Pittsburgh that Penguins star forward Evgeni Malkin might be on the trade block.
However, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman does not believe the Penguins will undertake a major rebuild as he explained in his latest edition of 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet.
“Pittsburgh will never rebuild as long as Sidney Crosby is around. But defeat does not sit well in that corner of Pennsylvania and there is need for renovations. You can understand the eye-rolling that comes with Evgeni Malkin trade rumours, but several other clubs believe there is something to this — that, at the very least, the Penguins are determining the feasibility of the idea.”
General manager Jim Rutherford would not commit to keeping Malkin in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his NHL career, however, it is believed that Mario Lemieux does not want to trade the Russian forward.
Rutherford should make sure to be on the same page as Lemieux before making such a blockbuster move that will alter the team for years to come...
“GM Jim Rutherford declined comment, but hinted at it in a couple of local interviews last week. Malkin has a no-move clause, yet the buzz is that he’s taking some time to decompress and think about a.) if he’d agree and b.) where he’d agree to go to. That would be a short list, maybe the Rangers and Florida? The bigger hurdle might be Mario Lemieux, with The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reporting sources have told him Lemieux is against the idea. For the Penguins to consider this, the return must be good enough to keep them in contention now.”
If Mario is against it, Rutherford might want to consider another plan to help the Penguins.
There will be a lot of thinking to do for both the GM and Geno this summer…