Thursday, November 11, 2010

Would You Trade Evgeni Malkin?

It's that time of the year; the poor starts aren't just starts anymore; the slump isn't just a trend; it's a reality.  Shit just got real for a dozen teams, and especially for their fans.  This isn't how the Pittsburgh Penguins were supposed to open their season at their new state of the art home.  Yet here they are, 16 games into the season (almost 20% of the season) sitting in 3rd place in the Atlantic division at 7-8-1.  So put on Ray Shero's diamond studded loafers, and what would you do?  Well, let's take a cue from Bruce Garrioch; why don't the Pittsburgh Penguins trade Evgeni Malkin?

Coming off the worst season of point production in his young career, 77 points in 67 games, down 36 points from his career high of 113 in his Conn Smythe trophy and Stanley Cup winning campaign (in 15 more games).  There is simply no denying last season was an aberration is a seemingly ascending career arc.  Outside of shorthanded goals; every single major category saw career lows and major decreases. Blame it on injury, blame it on getting paid, blame it on Crosby shooting more.  Whatever, fact is; he wasn't good (I love the fact that his reputation is such that a player averaging 1.15 points per game wasn't good) .

Now fast forward to this year; where a slow start; by the Pens and Malkin himself; makes you ask the question; could the return on a trade for Malkin be worth making the move?

The Penguins have committed $35.4 million to their core: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Martin, Michalek, and Fleury.  That's $35.4 million to 6 guys, leaving $24 million to the 14 other roster players.  Sounds like the same exact problem the Tampa Bay Lightning encountered; how did they respond?  They traded Brad Richards.  The precedent's set; but would the ROI be worth it?

Let's look at some deals to try to get a sense of what Malkin might be worth.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, Anssi Samela, 2nd rounder for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Patrice Cormier, 1st rounder, 2nd rounder
2. Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, 2 1st rounders, 3rd rounder

So; think of it this way; for pending UFA Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils had to give up a top 4 blueliner, a promising rookie, and a promising prospect.  Evgeni Malkin still has 3 years left on his contract.

Or think of it this way; for pending UFA Chris Pronger, you can get an established 20 goal scorer, promising prospect, and multiple first rounders.  Evgeni Malkin still has 3 years left on his contract.

So for a pending UFA generational scorer you have to give up a very pretty penny.

For a pending UFA generational blue line talent, you have to give up an even greater nickel.

For a generational all around talent widely considered top 5 in the game currently, with 3 years left on his contract, you have to be completely out of your mind if you think it could ever happen.

What team could possibly mortgage their 5 year future to make a move like this?  How could 66 justify keeping Ray Shero if he made a move like this?  How are you even still reading this?

The Pittsburgh Penguins, and Evgeni Malkin, will be fine.

But I mean, if the Kings come calling...


glass awards and trophies said...

With his performance lately? I'd say I'll do ever chance I get. He is not the player he used to be. His lost his focus. I hate to see him go but, the team needs to win.

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Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.