The Pittsburgh Penguins came up short in the playoffs again, falling in five games to the New York Rangers while scoring just eight goals total.
And you know what another playoff disappointment for the Penguins means — no shortage of ideas on how to fix them.
While the jobs of the coach and GM appear safe, at least one prominent NHL insider — Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman — believes it’s time for the franchise to “think about” trading Evgeni Malkin.
“If you can get two or three pieces including a guy that can play with (Sidney) Crosby, don’t you have to think about it?” Friedman said Monday on Sportnet radio. “At what point do you say, yeah, we won the Stanley Cup, but that was six years ago? These two guys together make $18.2 million, and we keep losing in the playoffs because we don’t have enough support pieces.”
Remember that the Penguins also have defenseman Kris Letang signed to a hefty contract. In fact, Crosby, Malkin and Letang are each top-25 cap hits in the NHL.
Now, for the record, the Penguins say they have “no interest” in breaking up Crosby and Malkin, so all this could be a complete non-starter.
‘Tis that time of the season, though.
Here’s something you may not know — of all the active goalies with at least 10 playoff appearances, only three have a higher career postseason save percentage than Calgary’s Jonas Hiller (.932).
Hiller was mostly excellent in the Flames’ first-round victory over Vancouver, posting a .931 save percentage in six games (though he did get pulled in Game 6). Now he’s got his sights set on Anaheim, which happens to be the team that cut him loose after last season.
“At the end, you want nothing more than to beat that team and prove to them they made a mistake not re-signing you,” Hiller told the Globe and Mail. “It should be a fun series.
“I spent seven years there. I know so many people there. Sure, the team has changed since last year, but just to be in that building, which was home for me for so long, it’s definitely going to be special.”
Related: Calgary signs Hiller: two years, $9 million
Despite the “ironclad” 25-year lease the Islanders signed in Brooklyn, there continues to be speculation that the team may not, in fact, be long for Barclays Center and could be back playing in Nassau County, at a renovated Coliseum, in a matter of years.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman did not want to add to that speculation today.
“Based on what I’ve seen and what Charles Wang’s efforts have been for the last decade, I’m not sure it’s fair to give the fans — even the people who live in Nassau County — any hope that something’s coming next,” Bettman said, per Newsday.
“Lots of possibilities have been thrown out about an arena for the last decade and none of them have materialized.”
You will note that he did not entirely rule the possibility out.