Sidney Crosby, Evegeni Malkin

Penguins GM says Malkin might draw team’s highest salary


The Pittsburgh Penguins made a massive investment by signing Sidney Crosby to a 12-year, $104.4 million deal, but re-signing Evgeni Malkin might even be more expensive. At least on average.

Penguins GM Ray Shero admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he “discussed the likelihood” of Malkin becoming the team’s highest-paid player with Crosby during their June 2012 contract discussions.

Making that happen won’t be easy; both Malkin’s and Kris Letang’s contracts expire after the 2014-15 campaign.

“I did not anticipate what the salary-cap number would be, but I‘ve said over the years that you had to anticipate the (last labor contract) was ending,” Shero said. “And I wanted to be in a position to sign (captain Sidney) Crosby, Malkin and (defenseman Kris) Letang.”

Shero didn’t explain how he could pull that off, however.

It remains to be seen if Malkin’s annual cap hit climbs from his current one, which matches Crosby’s $8.7 million mark. Letang should expect a massive bump from his $3.5 million rate, on the other hand.

Could that mean a buyout for someone who had a disappointing season for his price like $5 million defenseman Paul Martin? That’s unclear, but here’s what Shero had to say about him:

“He‘s embarrassed by the year he had,” Shero said. “He‘s promised to be the player we know he is, but it‘s up to Paul to bounce back.”

And then it will be up to Shero to decide who comes back, in the long run.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?