Evgeni Malkin for Drew Doughty? Let's be honest with ourselves, when Doughty was picked in the 2008 NHL entry draft, we all knew he was going to be a very good defensemen.
Little did we know, he'd be a Norris Trophy candidate in his second year in the NHL. I suppose you can say the same for Evgeni Malkin. He was picked second overall in the NHL entry draft in 2004. Perhaps Malkin was overshadowed by Washington Capitals' superstar Alex Ovechkin, but regardless, he's made his impact in the NHL very early too.
Now you might say I'm jumping the gun here, but Doughty's season was no fluke. He looked good in his rookie campaign, but his sophomore year is when he has shined. He put up awesome numbers offensively (16 goals, 43 assists, 59 points), had 9 PP goals, and 22 PP assists. This kid is a monster on the PP, something the Penguins could use if Gonchar doesn't re-sign. Doughty not only upped his offensive numbers, but he got a lot better defensively in his rookie year in which he posted just a -17 +/-. This season, Doughty put up an impressive +20, +/- rating.
Doughty has been compared a lot to Philadelphia Flyer's defensemen Chris Pronger, due to their ability to play great defense and contribute offensively on the a regular basis. Doughty will eventually grow into his body and become more physical as well as get better defensively and offensively, which is scary seeing as how he's already the best defensemen on his team.
Now why would you trade Evgeni Malkin, a proven superstar, for a defensemen? Doesn't Crosby need a winger?
Well, that's only part of the deal. The Penguins will also receive gritty right-winger Dustin Brown as well. The Penguins get a QB on the PP to replace Gonchar, and a quality 60-70 point winger that can score 25-30 goals a season alongside Crosby. The Kings get a bona fide superstar in Malkin and more depth at center to back up Anze Kopitar. This deal would clear a lot of cap room for the Penguins. Doughty counts for $3.4M against the cap and Brown counts for $3.1M. Overall, that's only $6.5M for two very good young players who are signed for the next couple years while still leaving $2.2M left from Malkin's departure.
Malkin isn't going to be a Penguin forever. This deal will give the Penguins a much better defensive core and a quality winger. The Kings would get someone to help fill the seats in LA and it will also give Malkin the ability to perform as a team's number one center instead of being in the shadows of Crosby.