Kuklaskorner quoted an interview on Canadian radio with hockey "expert" Nick Kypreos:
Nick Kypreos was just on Fan590 in Toronto and stated Ryan Malone has been telling people that Columbus, along with Toronto is one of the teams he does not
want to play for. Nick feels Columbus is just trying to show an effort to sign a player.
This would make sense. If the Penguins do feel they will lose Malone (and it seems they will) then why not try to trade his rights to another team for draft compensation. Malone though holds a lot of cards, after all he only needs to wait two more weeks and then he can field offers from all 30 teams. A destination like Columbus, who's been one of the league's worst teams (and never qualified for the playoffs) since their inception in 2000 is not the most promising of markets.
As for the Toronto jab, we buy that too. Bugsy is a pretty laid back guy, and there are stretches of the season when he doesn't always produce goals and assists. He'll be one of the most sought after UFA's, but that doesn't mean he's necessarily got the pure skill of some of the other UFA forwards. Why subject yourself to a hockey hotbed like Toronto that demands results every night under an intense media and fan microscope?
We don't doubt that Pittsburgh and Columbus have had talks about exchanging the rights of impending free agents for draft picks, but obviously without the willingness to sign a deal on the part of the player, the incentive for a team like the Blue Jackets to trade is shot.
Even if the BJ's would offer Malone a very reasonable salary (rumored to be $4.5-$5.5 million annually for 4-5 years) it stands to reason other GMs could bump the price up just as high and Malone could play in a more favorable hockey environment like Vancouver, Minnesota or Boston. If we were a player or an agent in Malone's position that's this close to testing the open market, why negotiate with just one team when there's multiple suitors about to fall over each other offering perhaps just as much if not more money.
Wait and see Pens fans, but at this point we're skeptical that any deal goes down. News of Malone to Columbus was broken by the Ohio reporters seven days ago....If a serious storm was brewing, it stands to reason that the teams and players would have an agreement in place by now. With the clock ticking quickly towards the approaching draft (and free agency) it seems the Pens getting "something for nothing" by dealing a guy like Malone or Brooks Orpik is shrinking every minute.