Let’s get the big question out of the way first, as Evgeni Malkin commits to the Pittsburgh Penguins for eight additional seasons at $76 million, beginning in 2015 and running through 2022:
Is he making more money than Sidney Crosby?
The answer is “no,” technically, because as Rob Rossi points out Crosby is making $10.6 million on average in the first nine years of his 12-year, $104-milion contract signed last year.
So while Malkin’s $9.5 million cap hit annually eclipses that of Crosby ($8.7 million), technically Crosby’s is still the richer deal during the run of Malkin’s contract, before his salary dips to $3 million when he retires UH WE MEAN when it’s 2023.
C’mon, Ray Shero isn’t about to engage in that level of boat-rocking.
The deal was struck late Wednesday night in general manager Ray Shero's office with J.P. Barry, Malkin's agent. Barry has been in Pittsburgh all week, quietly working on the deal. Malkin wanted the deal done before he returned to Moscow, where he spends his offseason.
Malkin's entire immediate family — parents Vladimir and Natasha, and brother Denis — were in Pittsburgh for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Malkin wanted to work out the deal while his family was in Pittsburgh, too.
The Penguins wanted a deal with Malkin, 26, done so they could turn to other offseason matters, including a possible new contract with defenseman Kris Letang and winger Pascal Dupuis.
The deal had the blessing from Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, who obviously like the idea of the two best centers in the NHL populating their lineup for the next nine years.
There was a thought that with the salary cap going down, the Penguins would have to choose between Malkin and Letang, but Shero indicated that he intended to keep both for next season.
Beyond that? It gets tricky. From the Tribune Review:
Letang, 26, seeks at least a five-year contract with a full no-trade clause, though he prefers an eight-year term. He also wants a full no-movement clause. Compensation is trickier because Letang is the first in-his-prime defenseman set to hit the open market under the new labor deal. The Penguins believe Letang will want at least $7 million annually and closer to or above $8 million.
Do the Penguins want over $25 million in cap space tied up in three players over the next several years? They may not have a choice if they want to keep Letang.
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