Fans in Pittsburgh were living a nightmare last summer when the Penguins were part of a rumour that speculated top forward Evgeni Malkin was getting traded and shipped out of the Steel City.
While the team denied the rumours and even captain Sidney Crosby commented on the stupidity of the possibility of losing his teammate, the speculations remained alive for long, even after the Penguins managed to trade veteran forward Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes.
Now, the summer is underway and fans are focused on the upcoming 24-team playoff tournament in which the Penguins will face the Montreal Canadiens in a best of five qualifying series. However, they feared that a Malkin-trade rumour could resurface when Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman spoke about it in their latest 31 Thoughts podcast on Sportsnet during Thursday’s episode.
General manager Jim Rutherford was a guest on the show, and the two hosts didn’t waste time asking the possibility of Geno’s name ending back up on the trade chatter during the offseason.
The fans in Pittsburgh will be happy to know that Rutherford did not ignore the question and addressed the possibility, by completely shutting it down.
“Only if someone makes them up, it won’t come from Pittsburgh,” he replied when asked about it.
And they all had a good laugh.
Last summer, the whole Malkin trade rumours was intensified by the idea that the Russian forward had demanded an ultimatum, stating that the team needed to chose between he and Kessel.
As you know, while everyone on the team denied that rumour, Kessel was shipped out and Geno remained. And since he seems to have won that ultimatum, we surely don’t expect him to find himself once again in trade chatter.