Saturday, June 14, 2008

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Many, many apologies for not following through with my promise to discuss RFAs yesterday. It may seem like I'm a day late and a buck short now on some of this stuff (mostly because I am), but in my defense I started writing this post yesterday morning and ended up taking ill later in the day (I think it was something I ate, blech). I had hoped to be able to finish the post later in the evening, but when I came home from work, I became one with my couch and never even powered up my laptop at all last night. But, hey, I guess it's better late than never, right???

(Written Friday:) Right now what I'm going to do is get you up to speed with as much information about all the contract talks as I can so we can all talk about everything in the comments. There are a lot of rumors circulating on the Internet and on XM satellite radio about the future of the Boys on the Penguins' roster. The most laughable one is that Penguins are mulling the idea of trading Evgeni Malkin. These rumors can be traced back to Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury. And in the interest of not reinventing the wheel, I will direct you to a great write up about it on the Bleacher Report. Click here to read it, then come back for the discussion. Go ahead... I'll wait. ;)

He cleans up well, eh?

Are ya done? Okay now, in my opinion, I think it would have to be a trade for an elite player and several first round draft picks to make Ray Shero even entertain the thought of trading Malkin right now. Geno is just too good to let go, and if his improvement from last season to this season is any indication, he's only going to get better. Trading Geno now would be like selling all of your Apple stock in September 2001. (← Just so everyone is perfectly clear about what I'm trying to say, the iPod made its debut the following month.) McGuire's being awfully shortsighted by not taking into consideration how much the Pens relied on Geno this season after Sid got hurt. MAKE NO MISTAKE - there would have been no post-season for the Pens if Geno hadn't taken the reins
(well, that and Ty Conklin's goaltending domination). PERIOD. There's no way Shero's going to let Geno go without a fight.

(Written Saturday:) Since I wrote this, Friend of The Show Allison Y. has sent me this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review where Geno himself makes McGuire look like a complete idiot:
Evgeni Malkin did not leave the NHL Awards Show at Elgin Theatre on Thursday night with either the Hart Trophy or the Lester B. Pearson Award.

But he said the prize he really covets -- a long-term contract extension with the Penguins -- is on its way.

"I'm thinking maybe five or six years," said Malkin, set to enter the final season of his three-year entry-level deal. "I'm an easy guy to deal with. I'd love to stay in Pittsburgh."
SWEET!!!!! While sometimes you'll hear guys praising the city they play for one day then talk about how they couldn't wait to get out of there the next, I think Geno really does want to stay in Pittsburgh. If you'll recall, earlier this season, we were told that his parents loved the 'Burgh so much that they were actually house shopping and considering a move across the pond.

Allison also sent me news that the Pens filed for arbitration with Marc-Andre Fleury:
"By filing for salary arbitration, it gives us extra time to continue to negotiate a contract with Marc-Andre," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a team-released statement. "As a result of the filing, Penguins fans are assured that Marc-Andre will be under contract to our club for next season. Marc-Andre has done a tremendous job for us. We remain committed to negotiating a contract with him in the near future."

As I was driving home from work yesterday trying not to focus on the pain in my stomach, I heard on XM Radio that "word on the street" is that Shero low balled an offer to Ryan Malone. I wasn't all that concerned, thinking it was probably just the beginning of an offer/counteroffer process to find out exactly what kind of hometown discount Bugsy was willing to take... until I woke up this morning and saw an article that Friend of The Show Daily Su sent me. From Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski:
The Sweater Ted recently examined the same sort of situation happening for the Pittsburgh Penguins and two of their UFAs: Forward Ryan Malone and defenseman Brooks Orpik, both of whom could command significant raises this summer.

Check out those tats!

In Malone's case, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been mentioned several times since the Stanley Cup finals ended. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post Dispatch reports on his blog this afternoon that the whispers remain strong, especially with Evgeni Malkin nearing a contract extension with Pittsburgh. Even if that contract fails to reach Ovechkin-levels of years or dollars, the Penguins still can't break the bank for a player like Malone with no less than a dozen other UFAs to consider.
Ohhh, I think I'm getting sick again... This seems to fall in line with the idea that Shero's real goal this summer is to sign Marian Hossa to a long-term deal. Haha, Friend of The Show Michelle B. literally just sent me this article basically stating the very same thing:
The Penguins have made signing right wing Marian Hossa to a long-term contract their No. 1 priority, according to several players, agents and team officials who spoke to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the condition of anonymity.

He's a keeper, but will he stay?

All other offseason moves will be determined by the Penguins' success or failure in this pursuit of Hossa, who scored 12 goals and recorded 26 points in 20 Stanley Cup playoff games skating alongside star center Sidney Crosby.
For an idea of exactly how much work Shero's got cut out for him, has this complete list of who's under contract, who's a UFA, and who's an RFA. I'll do my best to keep The Show as up-to-date as I possibly can throughout this summer, so please keep sending links my way - I know I'll get by with a little help from my Friends. :)

I found this yesterday and thought it would be a good way to go out today with a laugh: Which do you think is taller, "Mini-Me" actor Verne Troyer or the Stanley Cup? Click here to find out.

Thanks go out to Allison, Su, and Michelle for the links. :)

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