Evgeni Malkin never entertained thoughts about playing for an NHL team other than the Penguins, his agent said Tuesday.
J.P. Barry told the Tribune-Review that negotiations with the Penguins for Malkin’s new contract were “super smooth because both sides wanted to get something done quickly.”
Malkin agreed to an eight-year, $76 million (total) contract in June — within days of the Penguins’ season-ending loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference final of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The deal kicks in after the upcoming NHL season.
Negotiations with the Penguins did not include Malkin’s parents, Vladimir and Natalia. A report out of Russia on Monday quoted Vladimir Malkin saying that negotiations with the Penguins were difficult and that his son had considered playing for other teams — including the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens.
Evgeni Malkin, in a text message, reiterated Tuesday a previous statement that he desired “only to play for Pittsburgh,” where he is building a new home.
Two days after the Penguins were eliminated on June 7, Malkin told Barry that he hoped for a quick resolution to contract negotiations. Barry said that he Malkin, and Gennady Ushakov — Malkin’s longtime Russian associate — met with Penguins general manager Ray Shero, CEO David Morehouse and majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle on June 10, and Malkin later met privately by himself with those members of the Penguins brass.
The contract was finalized late in the evening on June 12 and announced the next day. It includes a full no-movement clause.
“The negotiations with Pittsburgh went very smoothly,” Barry said. “Ray Shero, David Morehouse, Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux showed a willingness throughout to find a fair structure for both sides. Evgeni was very pleased that this negotiation was concluded amicably as his wishes were always to remain in Pittsburgh.”
Malkin, a two-time NHL scoring champion and former MVP of the regular season and playoffs, is currently in Moscow, where he spends his offseasons. He is slated to return to Pittsburgh in early September in advance of training camp.