For so long Pittsburgh Penguins fans were told the team had two untouchables: captain Sidney Crosby and star player Evgeni Malkin. Now, it seems like general manager Jim Rutherford is letting them know they need to get ready for a new status for the latter.
Last week, Rutherford would not commit to keeping Malkin in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his NHL career. And Mark Madden of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review believes the Penguins are seriously considering moving him.
Madden revealed that the Penguins were “very unhappy” with Malkin’s performance and attitude this season. He did manage to average over a point-per-games, but he also had a team-worst plus-minus of minus-25, a team-high 84 turnovers, and a team-most 89 PIMs…
The main issue seems to be his relationship with head coach Mike Sullivan and his unwillingness to change his game. It could lead to the Penguins seriously looking at moving him to initiate a rebuild around Crosby.
The issue - or what makes people think this could be a bluff - is that Malkin has a full no-movement clause and given no indication he wants to leave Pittsburgh.
On top of that, Rutherford would need to be fully convinced that what he would get in return for be worth moving the veteran centre. Malkin and the fanbase know that the team would never pressure him to be traded by benching him or cutting down his minutes seeing that his offensive skills remain invaluable to their roster.
Just because the team says it’s willing to consider trading,Malkin, it doesn’t mean they’re going to do it. Maybe the fear of not being an untouchable anymore will force Geno to get better all around…