According to a report from Elliotte Friedman, Evgeni Malkin may be unhappy with his situation in Pittsburgh. Friedman cited sources from around the league that Malkin would be open to a trade. If this were to be the case, the Russian superstar would be one of the most coveted players on the market this offseason.
That begs the question: Would the Devils be interested in the multi-talented center?
The answer to that question is undoubtedly yes. Given Ray Shero’s ties with the Penguins, I’m sure he would at least make an inquiry about Malkin’s availability, and what Pittsburgh is seeking in return. There undoubtedly is a glaring need for a true play-making, 1st line center on the Devils. In the seven seasons that Malkin has played at least 60 games, he’s never finished with less than 70 points. Career-wise, Malkin has averaged 1.19 points per game. Malkin would be a very welcomed addition to a team that has been goal-starved in the subsequent seasons to the departures of Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
The real question here is whether the Devils have the assets to acquire Malkin. The Penguins won’t let a player of Malkin’s caliber walk for an undervalued return. Acquiring the all-star center will inevitably come at a steep price. For starters, the Devils would have to give up the 6th pick in this year’s draft, which is fine considering Malkin is only 28-years old and still in the prime of his career. We all remember when the Devils gave up the 9th pick to acquire Cory Schneider and that trade has worked out quite well for New Jersey. It’s what else the Devils would have to give up in this trade scenario that puts things in perspective.
Pittsburgh would more than likely ask for one of Larsson/Severson (two players that are untouchable in my eyes) since the Penguins are reportedly in the market for a top 4 defenseman. They’d most likely ask for Henrique in a package and could even ask for a prospect like Reid Boucher. Even with all that, it’s still possible that won’t meet Pittsburgh’s demands. Hypothetically speaking, if a package of the sixth overall pick and the said players met Pittsburgh’s asking price, how much are the Devils really adding by giving up a potential top-pairing defenseman, an established top-six forward, a high first round pick, and a one of their better forward prospects from an already offensively inept prospect pool? Malkin is a revered force in the NHL, but Shero can’t afford to acquire a player of this magnitude if it comes at the expense of sacrificing too many pieces of the team’s future.
My guess is that Pittsburgh will hang on to Malkin for the time being, especially with the unsteady state the future of the organization’s ownership is presently in. If he does hit the market, a potential Malkin sweepstakes will make for a very interesting story to follow this offseason.