For the sake of discussion, let's have a debate. No matter what happens, you would never want a player of Malkin's caliber to get injured or leave your team. That said, GM Ray Shero, in whom we trust, has done a heckuva job (As Bush would say) replacing his goal-scoring prowess by bringing back Alex Kovalev and James Neal.
I don't know how to do the cool thing where it shows a picture of everyone and their stat line, so let's take a quick look at all three players' stats for the year:
Kovalev: 56GP 15G 13A 4.1 GVT
Neal: 62GP 21G 18A 8.0 GVT
Malkin: 43GP 15G 22A 4.7 GVT
If you just look at their production, it seems like we've actually upgraded our forwards, which could be possible considering we definitely downgraded our D a little when we traded Goligoski. But let's dig deeper. While Kovalev is clearly an elite talent, at 38 he doesn't have the speed he once did, and is prone to making turnovers. Neal's numbers may be slightly inflated because of playing with Richards on the Stars (though this may not be a big deal b/c he's bound to play with good talent on the Pens too). In addition, Malkin was clearly having an off year, and in the past has performed much better.
In any case, I think it's interesting to pose the question:
Would the Penguins be better off with Evgeni Malkin, or with James Neal and Alex Kovalev?
Malkin (175 votes)
Neal and Kovalev (39 votes)
214 total votes