As the NHL’s offseason calendar has officially reached Silly Season, when it comes to the Penguins, a lot of question marks still surround the status of two of the team’s all-time greats.
In his weekly ‘32 Thoughts’ column, Elliotte Friedman discussed what could be going on regarding the futures of Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang and their status as pending free agents.
19. Pittsburgh: As with Forsberg in Nashville, teams who that Kris Letang see a path to a Penguin extension. One exec refused to tell me specifically what he heard, but said Pittsburgh’s willing to go into “what it considers uncomfortable territory” for Letang. For me, uncomfortable territory right now is Pearson Airport, but I can’t tell you what that means for the Penguins. Word is they’ve been extremely careful about term. Evgeni Malkin? Honestly, I don’t know. I keep hearing not close, but, again, I wonder if things change once we get closer to July 13. Does a deadline nudge both sides closer? No idea. I’ve wondered about the possibility of Fleury teaming up with Tristan Jarry for some time, but, as mentioned earlier, I don’t believe he’s made a decision.
First, let’s talk Letang. Friedman uses the term “uncomfortable territory.” I assume this could mean uncomfortable when it comes to dollars or term, but perhaps both? The reality of the situation is that the Pens need Letang and should be willing to get “uncomfortable,” if that’s what it takes.
No levels of comfortability were addressed regarding Malkin’s future, but my stance there is the same. Friedman says he keeps hearing “not close,” but what does that really mean? Let’s hope there is a path to striking a deal before the deadline.
Friedman’s easter egg in this week’s piece drops Marc-Andre Fleury’s name and the possibility of him playing a backup role to Tristan Jarry, but says he doesn’t believe he’s made a decision about his future.
Buckle up, folks, Silly Season is a wild time.