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Friedman on Pat McAfee Show gives Letang, Malkin and Fleury updates

Interesting chatter about the Penguins and...Marc-Andre Fleury?

Pittsburgh Penguins v New Jersey Devils Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman chatter with Pat McAfee and the boys on the Pat McAfee show today.

(some naughty language in the video below, if you’re sensitive to that or in a working situation, might not want to blast this, just as a heads up)

Friedman gives some new detail and specifics, but pretty much says what close followers to the situations have heard for the last few weeks.

When it comes to Evgeni Malkin, the term is no problem, both sides are in agreement that a three-year contract extension makes sense for the situation. Sidney Crosby also currently has three years on his contract, so the potential Malkin extension would tie the two franchise players together through the 2024-25 season.

The sticking point as Friedman added was that, “I just heard the money wasn’t close.” Which also fits narratives that the two sides remain at points with different views of what a “good contract” should be for the aging, oft-injured but still productive center.

According to Friedman, there are still gaps to bridge in the ongoing Kris Letang negotiation as well. “I heard the issue there was [that] someone told me they thought about $1.25 million apart per year”. Friedman did not mention anything about the length of the contract, in a positive or negative way.

While that number doesn’t sound like too much money in the relative scheme of things, it still is a gap and the Pens have to have some point where they feel they can’t fit Letang into their salary structure. At this point, negotiations haven’t found that sweet spot that works for both sides.

The Malkin process sounds like it could be even further behind, and seemingly there hasn’t been much progress or ability to find common ground if the team’s proposed number is falling well short of where the Malkin camp is thinking about being the right amount.

While most of that has been known or easy enough to figure out since no contracts have been signed yet, the more interesting tidbit might have been on the Marc-Andre Fleury front.

Friedman mentioned there was a chance he thought Fleury would be coming back to Pittsburgh, when he hits free agency. He called it “possible” and cited how the goaltender did not want to be traded to Washington this past season.

There was also talk from Friedman about how many teams are considering making big changes this summer in the off-season. With a tight salary cap that has barely risen since 2019 and a lot of pressure and jockeying for positioning, the listing of potentially available players could be greater than ever — for if not actual trades at least the willingness to consider moves in what could be an active market in the NHL.

The clock is starting to tick louder. The Penguins have just over three weeks (22 days) until July 13th to figure out if they will budge or how much they are willing to give in negotiations compared with how much, if any, that Malkin and/or Letang will compromise themselves before free agency opens.

You can listen to Pat’s show on YouTube, where the Pride of Plum Boro broadcasts live on weekdays from 12-3.