Evgeni Malkin has decided to stay with the only NHL franchise he's ever known, signing a four-year, $24.4 million contract ($6.1 million average annual value) after heavy speculation he would test the free agent market.
Reports surfaced in recent days indicating Malkin was unhappy with how negotiations were going, telling teammates he thought the Penguins were doubting his skill.
Malkin has battled through injuries in recent years, appearing in just 74 games over the past two seasons. The 35-year-old registered 20 goals and 42 points in 41 contests in 2021-22.
The Penguins clearly believe there is more in the tank and think he can still be a meaningful contributor on a Stanley Cup-contending team.
“Evgeni is a generational talent who will be remembered as one of the greatest players in NHL history,” Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said in a release. “His hockey resume and individual accomplishments speak volumes about him as a player, and we are thrilled to watch him continue his remarkable legacy in Pittsburgh.”
Malkin's decorated 16-year NHL career already includes plenty of accolades, including a Hart Trophy, a Ted Lindsay Award and two Art Ross Trophies. He's won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins and has 1,146 career points to his name. Only Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux have played more seasons in a Penguins sweater.
The native of Russia was drafted second overall by Pittsburgh in 2004, then proceeded to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 2006-07.
Pittsburgh has already had a busy offseason after a fifth consecutive early playoff exit. In addition to Malkin, Hextall has locked up Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell on long-term deals.
The Penguins are betting this core can still compete for Stanley Cups even as key players age into their 30s.
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