Evgeni Malkin to become a free agent, time with Penguins over?

Evgeni Malkin
Jan 31, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) reacts after being named a star of the game against the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Evgeni Malkin will become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday when the market opens. This could officially be the end of his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins after 16 NHL seasons all in the Steel City.

Darren Dreger of TSN broke the news on Monday afternoon stunning Penguins and other hockey fans alike.

Malkin, 35, was the Penguins first round pick, second overall, in the 2004 Draft. He’s a three-time Stanley Cup Champion with 981 career games to his credit. In his career, Malkin has amassed 1,156 points including 444 goals.

His list of accomplishments includes being named an All-Star seven times, a Hart Memorial Trophy (2011-12) recipient, and winner of the 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs.

Evgeni Malkin to become a UFA

nhl rumors
Feb 20, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and center Evgeni Malkin (71) present center Sidney Crosby (87) with a commemorative stick and plaque in honor of his 500th career NHL goal before the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

According to Rob Rossi of The Athletic, Malkin was unhappy with the current situation. In a text to the publication he asked: “Do they want me?”

Rossi also spoke with friends and teammates who claim Malkin was “devastated” over the negotiations.

“It bothers me how this is happening,” relayed one of Malkin’s teammates. “It’s a bad look. From what I know of what’s happened, Geno deserves better.”

On the day prior to the Draft, GM Ron Hextall told the media he was working on a new deal for the big center. Previous reporting indicated a two-year offer at $6M AAV was on the table, but Malkin would be more willing to accept that money if the term was for 4 years.

Rossi is now making clear that a 4-year offer was never on the table, thus leading to today’s decision.

Malkin just wrapped up a deal worth $9.5M AAV against the cap and will certainly draw interest from many clubs.

In 2021-22, he missed half the season due to a right knee injury that required surgery. Malkin still was able to post over a point a game average by scoring 42 points in 41 contests.