Far off observers are already chiming in before the Pittsburgh Penguins season is over. From @Hope_Smoke (who really does the Lord's work in transcribing Canadian radio interviews to twitter), noted owner water-carrier/puppeteer Darren Dreger had the following comments.
Dreger on TSN Radio "if the Pens lose I think Ray Shero needs to take a hard look at player personnel"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) May 13, 2014
Dreger "the Pens have a lot of money locked up into that core. It might be time to move Malkin out."— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) May 13, 2014
Dreger "there are those, close to Crosby, who say he thinks it's time to get him better wingers"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) May 13, 2014
Reason Dreger brought up dismantling the core in Pitt is because he believes Crosby is frustrated— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) May 13, 2014
Ok, where to begin...It's conjecture based off an event that may or may not happen (the Pens losing tonight). If that happens, then yes Ray Shero is going to have to take a serious look at his team's roster, just as his job as an NHL general manager would dictate that at the end of any season.
That alone is not enough to make the Grand Canyon sized leap that the Penguins will be dealing their what could be their best (or second best) offensive player. Evgeni Malkin has a no-movement clause that kicked in on July 1, 2013. He just signed an eight year deal with the Penguins that runs through 2021-22, if he doesn't want to go anywhere, he doesn't have to go anywhere. And as Malkin said just yesterday at a joint press conference with Sidney Crosby, he likes Pittsburgh.
"We good friends, I'm excited to play with Sid," Malkin said. Doesn't exactly reek of two diva centers clashing heads. Pittsburgh has always been big enough for the two of them, and that won't change in the days and weeks that follows.
That angle covered- as of right now, Malkin likes and feels comfortable in Pittsburgh and can stay by that means. But why in the world would the Penguins want to trade Malkin? He carries a high cap hit, but he also backs it up by being one of the most productive and dangerous players on the ice. From their standpoint, he pulls his weight.
For the "Sid needs better wingers" argument, Crosby actually chose to play with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis last year, when the Pens had acquired Jarome Iginla with the initial idea to play him with Crosby prior to the broken jaw injury. As Dupuis comes back from a torn ACL, there is a possibility this summer that Pittsburgh can upgrade that spot through a trade or free agency, given the expected salary cap rise that Gary Bettman has repeated. The Pens can upgrade their team without trading away their second best player.
It's self-explanatory, but needs to be said- there's no reason for the Pittsburgh Penguins to trade Evgeni Malkin right now. He's under contract for the rest of his prime, and is a contributing member of the team. Dreger is right to say the Penguins might need some serious scrutiny and changes this summer, but it would be an unnecessary step-back to trade a superstar center. If anything, everyone except 87 and 71 might have to be debated for whether or not they should be back.
Any speculation is just fun for out-of-market talking heads to chatter aimlessly about, because something has to fill the time this time of year.