The other day we already wrote that the current transfer policy of Pittsburgh raises big questions. Outsiders to the Penguin franchise — GM Ron Hextall (legend of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh’s biggest rival) and club president of hockey operations Brian Burke — have had so much to do since the opening of the free-agent market that the Pennsylvania team will have to for a long time to get out of the hole, into which she will certainly fall. Before my eyes there are examples of “Detroit” and “Chicago”.

Fall of Pittsburgh.  Malkin and other stars took millions and the future from the club
Fall of Pittsburgh. Malkin and other stars took millions and the future from the club

“Hextall didn’t really want to give either Letang or Rust six-year contracts – no general manager wants to give six-year deals to players aged 30+ – but he reasoned it was the right move. And he was right. Remember Fenway Sports Group (owner of Pittsburgh. — Approx. “Championship”) wants results now. The company wants another championship next spring. She wants Crosby to get the fourth ring. To hell with the future! Win now. So Hextall did what he had to do. He made the Penguins better in the short term by forcing Letang, Rust and Malkin to sign a contract at a price lower than the market price, ”the Athletic quoted journalist Josh Yohe as saying.

In this regard, everything is clear. Bet on short-term success and scorched earth for years to come – this is the main strategy of the Hextall and Bourque tandem, whose followers, to put it mildly, are not to be envied. It is no accident that the Penguins’ management team is subjected to harsh criticism from all sides. People think only of themselves and live exclusively for today, and this is wrong.

But, as it turned out, there is another underlying reason for this whole story. According to the same Yohe, the Russian Evgeni Malkin, who nevertheless received a rather long four-year contract from Pittsburgh, is still not happy with the new agreement with the club.

“It’s easy to praise players for ‘settle for less money’, but let’s give Hextall credit. Malkin is clearly not happy with how the negotiations went, he is not happy with the contract he signed. The negotiations were contentious. Hextall bet that Malkin didn’t really want to leave Pittsburgh, and he was right. He won these negotiations,” the journalist said.

Evgeni Malkin

Evgeni Malkin


So what is the bottom line for Pittsburgh and for Malkin: failure or success? Let’s look at the details of the deal.

According to his new contract, Evgeny will earn $ 24.4 million over four seasons (an average of $ 6.1 million per season). Under the last eight-year agreement, Eugene earned $ 9.5 million a year.

The amount has decreased significantly, as well as the term of the agreement, but for an athlete who turns 36 on July 31, a deal executed up to 40 years old is quite acceptable. Especially given the constant injuries and a clear decline in the game in recent years. We won’t be surprised if the club has to buy, for example, the last year or even the remaining two years of the veteran’s contract.

In the first year, Eugene will receive a total of $8 million, of which $4 million is salary, and another $4 million is a signing bonus. In the second year, the salary will be $ 6 million, in the third – $ 5.6 million, and in the final, fourth – $ 1 million and $ 3.8 million as a bonus.

Malkin put the squeeze on Pittsburgh!  The Russian will receive $ 24.4 million and a chance to finish his career beautifully
Malkin put the squeeze on Pittsburgh! The Russian will receive $ 24.4 million and a chance to finish his career beautifully

It is noteworthy that throughout the entire contract, Evgeny will have a ban on the exchange to other NHL clubs without the consent of the player.

In general, everything is quite adequate for Malkin, so it’s strange what exactly the central striker can be dissatisfied with in this situation. The failure, rather, happened to Pittsburgh, which, by age, will have to win the Stanley Cup in the next year (maximum two), after which it will begin to engage in a long rebuild.

Eugene wanted to stay in his native team, and he stayed in it. Moreover, there is a chance to become the first Russian four-time winner of the Stanley Cup. In the NHL market, a Russian could well find another club for himself, or he could return to Magnitogorsk – in Metallurg they would have met their blood with open arms. But the man made a choice that he considered right. Let’s see what comes out of all this.

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