NHL Rumors: Penguins to protect Evgeni Malkin, Rangers 1st round pick available, and Sean Monahan is trade bait

Mar 24, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (23) follows the puck after a face off during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins headed into the offseason with questions surrounding the future’s of coach Mike Sullivan, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin. They answered those question when Ron Hextall put the kibosh on any notion that they would move on from any of them.

Evgeni Malkin and the expansion draft

Evgeni Malkin has once again come up in speculation. The latest talk have the Penguins asking him to waive his no move clause in order to expose him to the expansion draft. Pittsburgh’s gamble would be that Seattle would not waste a selection on an aging player with only one year left on an expensive deal. This would also allow them to protect a different player.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski is noting that sources have told him Malkin would be protected along with Tristan Jarry. There was also talk that the Pens would opt to protect Casey DeSmith instead, but that appears to not be the case.

evgeni malkin
May 24, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) reacts after scoring a power play goal against the New York Islanders during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers first round pick in play

Over at Forever Blueshirts, I reported that the New York Rangers first round pick is indeed in play this offseason. On July 23rd -24th the NHL Draft will take place and Chris Drury currently holds the 15th selection after the lottery drawing last week.

new york rangers
Mar 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury works the bench during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. Due to the NHL COVID-10 protocol, the Rangers coaching staff were not available for tonights game. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

There had been speculation that the Rangers, who have an overload of young players and prospects would package the 15th overall pick. A knowledgeable source confirmed that all options are on the table this summer and that includes moving the first round selection.

From what I can gather, and what many who cover the Rangers believe it is for a center. The pivots they would include the 15th pick for are Jack Eichel or Evgeny Kuznetsov who are known to be available. Should either Aleksander Barkov or Sean Monahan be put on the market, they would qualify.

Sean Monahan trade bait?

The Calgary Flames could be facing a summer of change. Several players may be on the block to reconstruct the roster with Johnny Gaudreau leading the way. Another is center, Sean Monahan.

Monahan is one of those core pieces. He has value and is a realistic trade option for Calgary. Players like Tkachuk or Gaudreau are so central to the Flames’ offence — Tkachuk led the team in scoring last year and Gaudreau is Calgary’s most offensively gifted player — that it is hard to make your team better by moving one of those two.

Monahan has been valuable to the Flames for a long time, and when he’s healthy and scoring, he’s also a central piece. But if they’re looking at moving one of the big three forwards, he’s probably the most likely to go. 

Hailey Salvian

Ian Mendes of The Athletic sees the Ottawa Senators as a trade fit.