As is tradition for teams eliminated from the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins held their final media interviews on locker clean out day on Tuesday before heading their separate ways for the offseason. There are dozens of questions marks surrounding the Penguins as they pack up with many surrounding the future of the core itself. [Pensburgh]
Pens Points is here loaded with news from clean out day...
For the first time during this Crosby/Malkin/Letang era, a member of that core will be eligible to hit the free agent market. In this case, two could be free agents this summer, leaving the Penguins with some major decisions to make. [Pensburgh]
If Sidney Crosby were the general manager, it’s possible Malkin and Letang are already under contract as I write this. During his media session on Tuesday, Crosby was quite clear he hopes to be teammates with Malkin and Letang next season. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
There’s no doubt Malkin wants to remain in Pittsburgh not only next season but for the rest of his career, no matter how long that is. He remains dedicated to the Penguins, but understands hockey is still a business. [Trib Live]
While it’s no guarantee Malkin will be back in Pittsburgh next season, he did erase any doubt that he plans on staying in North America. During exit interviews, Malkin soundly denied a claim there was a deal on the table for him to return to Russia. [TSN]
Another big name facing free agency for the Penguins but not a member of that famed ‘Big 3” is forward Bryan Rust. Rust played a vital role in two Stanley Cups and blossomed into an elite scorer, but his price tag could prove too expensive. [Trib Live]
There were rumors floated on Monday that Sidney Crosby was never diagnosed with a concussion after Game 5 and was cleared to play Game 6 but held out of the lineup. Both Crosby and Mike Sullivan axed that rumor on Tuesday. [Trib Live]
News and notes from around the NHL...
Another teams with a lot of offseason questions after another early playoff exit is the Toronto Maple Leafs. One of those questions was answered Tuesday with confirmation that GM Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe will return next season. [NHL]