The thing that sucks about the off-season is that there are rumors everywhere and usually action no where.
The latest rumor that's sweeping the rounds, summed up well (as you'd expect) by a solid source like Puck Daddy. In it, Garroich claims that Pens GM Ray Shero has offered Evgeni Malkin to the LA Kings for the 2nd pick in the draft plus forward Mike Cammalleri.
This makes no sense on several grounds...
- Garroich claims Malkin makes $984,000 a year and the Pens can't afford his salary increase (which won't kick in until 2010-11 by the way). Malkin's base salary is $984k, but his rookie bonuses (and salary cap figure) push his actual salary up to upwards of $3.84 million dollars a year. He's not going to go from under a million dollars to $8-10 million a year, as Garroich seems to suggest.
- Mike Cammalleri, while a good center (as evidenced by his 80 points in 81 games two seasons ago) makes $3.6 million a year and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, where he'll likely be in line for a hefty raise. In other words, the Penguins stand nothing to gain by trading for him.
- After certain #1 pick Steven Stamkos, the field is wide open for the second pick in the draft. Some like Russian forward Nikita Filatov, who is a skilled and explosive forward, will not have the immediate impact of a Malkin, Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. Others like a plethora of right-handed big defensemen like Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Alex Pietrangelo or Luke Schenn. But they're all projects and while some will be solid, nothing is promised for a prospect--especially a defenseman at that. Again, trading a legit super-star in Malkin for a prospect offers nothing to a Penguin team looking to get back to the Stanley Cup.
It's a load of crap. As we've reminded readers, the Penguins aren't even allowed to negotiate an extension with Malkin until July 1. And like Malkin said at the award ceremony, he's receptive to a 5-6 year deal that doesn't have to pay him more than Crosby's $8.7 million.
The media keeps feasting and spreading rumors; hoping the Malkin is "tired of being second bananna" or that the Pens can't keep Crosby, Malkin and Marian Hossa long-term (despite the fact that Hossa still isn't signed and may not be). They're looking for angles, but more importantly they're looking to generate newspaper sales and web-clicks and attention....Which is why we don't like to "feed" them by talking about it. The buzz got too strong to ignore.
As has been our message for the past two weeks, whether it's Hossa's alleged re-signing, a so-called imminent Ryan Malone trade in the works or anything regarding Malkin, Jordan Staal or Marc-Andre Fleury: there's a lot of words but not a lot of action. Likely after the draft things will settle a little. Surely after July 1 when players start to sign things will die down more.