Evgeni Malkin has played his entire NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the team selected him No. 2 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft. In his 16-year career, he’s helped lead the team to three Stanley Cups and 16 consecutive playoff appearances.
But it looks like Malkin could be finishing his career elsewhere as the star forward has decided to enter the open market and become a free agent, according to NHL insider Darren Dreger.
Breaking: Sources say Evgeni Malkin has decided to go to the open market on Wednesday. Malkin has never been a free agent before and wants to see what his options are.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 11, 2022
“Malkin has never been a free agent before and wants to see what his option are,” Dreger said in a Tweet.
The move comes after contract negotiations between Malkin and the Penguins appear to have halted. Malkin, in the last year of his eight-year contract, was reportedly seeking a new contract with more than three years from the Penguins, but that offer never came.
The Penguins NEVER offered 4 years to Evgeni Malkin. His camp reportedly tried to get there with GM Ron Hextall, and closest they got was “what it could look like.” The 4-year contract was NOT on table from Penguins.
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) July 11, 2022
While Malkin and Pittsburgh had been embroiled in a contract dispute for some time, the news that the Penguins star could be leaving his longtime team still came as a shock to the NHL world when they heard the news.
Sorry, Pittsburgh is not allowed to lose Heinz Field AND Malkin on the same day. That is simply unacceptable and I won't allow it https://t.co/8HeIXBqna4
— Joshua Axelrod (@jaxelburgh) July 11, 2022
Just putting this out into the universe: Our beer league team has an opening up front this fall.
— SeanFitz_Gerald (@SeanFitz_Gerald) July 11, 2022
Extending 38 year-old Jeff Carter then playing hardball with the guy with the 3rd-highest career ppg among active players is…a decision. Sad denouement for the longest playoff run in major pro sports. Caps should sign him just for the LOLs. https://t.co/HVkQR0Ps7j
— Derrick O’Keefe (@derrickokeefe) July 11, 2022
I'm thoroughly enjoying this stare down between Malkin & the Pens. https://t.co/C4pknYvyXq
— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) July 11, 2022
— noted seattle kraken fan (@marycclarke) July 11, 2022
Malkin's signing for the league minimum in Tampa, isn't he
— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) July 11, 2022
The 35-year-old has had a storied NHL career up to this point, winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2011-12 and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2009.
When Malkin does hit the open market, the eight-time All-Star will undoubtedly have plenty of suitors.