Now that they have settled the Kristopher Letang file, the Pittsburgh Penguins are focusing on that of Evgeni Malkin and if there is a player hoping for the return of “Geno”, it is the Quebec defender.
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Signing a six-year, $36.6 million contract on Thursday, Letang is one of a group of veterans who have won the club's last three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2017. de Malkin, eligible for unrestricted free agent status this year. Even though general manager Ron Hextall has admitted that the organization is working to keep the Russian under its umbrella, nothing is sealed but the No. 58 is keeping its fingers crossed.
"He was very happy for me," the fullback told NHL.com, adding that the forward had contacted him by text message to congratulate him. I replied to him by saying that I wish to see him sign soon so that we all stay together.
Also, Letang believes that his new agreement will not prevent the Penguins from maneuvering well in other contract files.
“It’s more of a pact that suits both parties; it gives the team a chance to sign other guys and it is based on performance as well as what I have achieved in recent years, he said. We want to make sure we can still compete and win, and not take a big step back.”
Good news soon?
If the right-hander has decided to stay in Pennsylvania, it is because he still believes in the chances of success of the "Pens", who took second place in the Metropolitan section during the last campaign. With a core that can remain intact, he considers the potential of the club very interesting.
“There are two big names, one of whom will extend with the team. When you bet on these two guys, including a leader like Sid [Crosby], anything is possible,” he said.
Malkin, 35, has completed an eight-year, $76 million deal. Much like his two longtime teammates, he has only played in Pittsburgh since his National League debut.