Pittsburgh Penguins: Is Evgeni Malkin on the Trade Block?

Matthew SteinhiserContributor IJune 12, 2008

Would the Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin? Apparently, the rumors are swirling around on blogs all over the NHL. Mike Milbury apparently set the rumors sail when he said that Malkin was going to either be traded or head back to the Russian Super league after the Penguins fell to Detroit in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. 

Then Pierre McGuire goes on satellite radio and says that the rumor is the Penguins will trade Malkin to the Kings for their first round draft pick this year and two forwards. To me this makes sense, yet doesn't. If the Penguins were seriously considering trading Evgeni Malkin, they would have two major things happen:

1) Pens fans would wonder what on earth they are thinking and 2) Pens fans would probably lose some faith in the organization. Consider this. If the Penguins really are considering trading Malkin, something must be going on behind the scenes.  Could Malkin not be happy in Pittsburgh?

I think it is possible. Remember Malkin doesn't speak English very well and for whatever reason he may not feel comfortable in Pittsburgh after he faltered in the Cup Finals. I doubt that is the case though. Or, could the Penguins be thinking ahead and are considering how they will stay competitive with so many stars on their team? That is a possibility.

We know that General Manager Ray Shero is going to stick to his plan. In the day and age of the salary cap, you have to if you want to survive. Shero will give it his best shot to keep a player, but if he can't he isn't going to overpay and risk losing more players down the road because of some dumb moves.

Another possibility is that Malkin wants a new contract. He did prove that he can carry a team once Sidney Crosby went down with the high ankle sprain, and he could possibly want to prove he can lead a team all on his own, but that seems a little preposterous too. The bottom line is this: If the Penguins are going to trade Evgeni Malkin, It's going to be for a good reason.

I am not the General Manager of the Penguins (In case you didn't see the by line my name isn't Ray) and I don't know what kind of plan they have or what knowledge of the situation they have, but I get the feeling that these rumors are just that; rumors. Milbury and Pierre probably just started the rumors because they know Penguins fans will lose sleep at night trying to figure out if the rumors are true.

I highly doubt that the Penguins would trade Malkin. He is a very valuable part of their future and if they would trade him what kind of message would that send to the other players? This team came within two wins of a Stanley Cup championship. The best thing for the Penguins right now is to worry about the players that will be unrestricted free agents.

Malkin has another year on his contract and if he is going to leave, he is going to leave. But I hope that he realizes, as well as the other players on the team, that something special is happening in Pittsburgh and it might be in their best interest to stay. After all, how many millions do you need?