For the first time in his 16-year career, Evgeni Malkin will be hearing contract offers from teams not named the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The veteran center is heading into free agency after negotiations between him and the Penguins fell flat and a deal couldn’t be reached.
It won’t be easy watching Malkin play for a different team, but that’s part of the business sometimes.
And every player understands it truly is a business, right?
Well, Malkin might be leaving because he feels disrespected by the Penguins.
Malkin wanted a four-year deal; he was willing to take less money if he was offered a new four-year contract and the Penguins hesitated at first.
President of hockey operations Brian Burke said that the team did eventually offer Malkin the deal he requested at four years, but a deal never got done.
According to Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the negotiations got personal.
“It’s clearly become personal. It’s not about money,” Vensel told 93.7 the Fan. “Someone with the team [says] they did offer him four-years, $6.1 million.”
The Penguins put an offer on the table that matched exactly what Malkin was looking for and he still turned it down.
Did the Penguins do too little too late? Does Malkin believe he is worth more? Do players truly understand that the NHL is a business?
All are hard to answer, but it sure seems Malkin was expecting a deal that benefited him more than the organization.
Malkin is a great player and will be remembered for a long time as one of the franchises greatest players, but if he’s holding out for more money or a longer term while almost being 36, the Penguins are making the right move in letting him walk.
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