The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with forward Evgeni Malkin on an eight-year $76 million contract extension, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal begins with the 2014-15 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and has an average annual value of $9.5 million. He will earn $9.5 million for each of the eight seasons.
Malkin, 26, is one of just three Penguins in franchise history to win multiple Art Ross Trophies as the NHL scoring leader (2012, ’09), joining Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. He has also won the Hart Trophy (2012), Ted Lindsay Award (2012) and Calder Trophy (2007). A three-time 100-point producer and a four-time 30-plus goal scorer, Malkin has been named team MVP on three occasions (’08, ’09, ’12); earned a spot on the NHL’s First-Team All-Star squad three times (’08, ’09, ’12); and has been named to four NHL All-Star Games (’08, ’09, ’11, ’12).
At first blush, this is a great deal for the Penguins. Ryan Getzlaf set the market a few months ago with a $8.25 million per year for eight year deal and Malkin is a more explosive offensive player and could have commanded a lot more than that on the open market, had he decided to go that route next summer when his current contract expired. Malkin had said he wanted to re-sign and Pittsburgh AND allow some cap space for the team to be able to pay other players, and he's certainly done that by accepting a contract more than $3 million per year under the maximum allowed salary.
Pens captain Sidney Crosby will carry a $8.7 million cap hit, but signed his deal in the last CBA and will make north of $10 million for the next nine seasons. Crosby knew and didn't mind that Malkin's cap hit would be more than hit own, and he shouldn't, because his contract (12 years, $104 million) is a lot better than the new CBA limit of eight years that the Pens could sign Malkin to.
Malkin, for his part, as always stated he wanted to remain in Pittsburgh, despite rumors from big pay days looming in Russia. And again he has showed this by signing a less-than-max deal to stay with the Penguins for the prime of his career.
The Pens are structured now with only three players under contract just three years in the future. In a NHL world where many teams are handcuffed to players long into the future, GM Ray Shero and the Pens have done well to have only Crosby, James Neal and now Malkin signed past 2015. The rest of the team will have to be filled out around them, but that's a great core to keep together for the future.
In what's very likely to be an off-season of changes with a lot of dominos falling, it's nice that the biggest domino in question will be sticking around.