Ryan Malone Heading for Free Agency

Matt EichelSenior Writer IJune 18, 2008

Pieces of the Pittsburgh Penguin team that made a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season are beginning to fall off.

Ryan Malone has reportedly chosen to test the free agency market come July 1.

"It was great in Pittsburgh while it lasted...but they (Penguins) never made me a real offer," Malone told WTAE TV in Pittsburgh.

Malone's career-high 27 goals and his inspired play in Playoffs were a big part of the Penguins' 2007-08 success.

In the same text to WTAE, Malone added, "It's UFA for sure."

Malone is likely going to be targeted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are ready to pay him between up to $5.5 million per year over four or five years. 

However, Malone has, in the past, expressed a lack of desire to play in Columbus, telling the Columbus Dispatch with regard to the possibility of being traded to the Blue Jackets, "If Columbus were smart, they wouldn't make the trade."

Even if he doesn't go to Columbus, it seems pretty clear that Ryan Malone won't be a penguin next season.

Sources: tsn.ca/nhl, habsinsideout.com