Evgeni Malkin staying with Penguins after signing 4-year, $24.4M extension

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Evgeni Malkin is staying in Pittsburgh as the superstar center and the Penguins worked out a four-year, $24.4 million extension Tuesday night.

“Evgeni is a generational talent who will be remembered as one of the greatest players in NHL history,” said Penguins general manager Ron Hextall. “His hockey resume and individual accomplishments speak volumes about him as a player, and we are thrilled to watch him continue his remarkable legacy in Pittsburgh.”

Per Pierre LeBrun, Malkin will get a $4 million salary and $4 million signing bonus this season; $6 million for 2023-24; $5.6 million in 2024-25; and a $1 million salary, plus a $3.8 million signing bonus in 2025-26, the final year of the contract and likely his NHL career. All four years will feature a full no-movement clause.

[NHL free agency tracker 2022: Full list of offseason signings]

The deal carries a $6.1 million salary cap hit.

Malkin, who has spent his entire 16-year NHL career with the Penguins scored 20 goals and recorded 42 points in 41 games last season following knee surgery in June 2021.

This news comes after reports Monday night that contract talks had stalled and the soon-to-be 36-year-old Malkin was ready to test the NHL free agency market, which opens Wednesday. It was important to the franchise — namely, Mario Lemieux — that Malkin, one of the team’s “big three” along with captain Sidney Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang, finished his career as a Penguin.

Contract talks were reportedly difficult, with neither side wanting to budge off their best offers. For Malkin, seeing the team take care of Letang, Bryan Rust and Rickard Rakell while he remained unsigned could not have been easy. It’s no surprise that not long after reports came out that he decided to go to market the two sides finally agreed to a deal.

Busy few weeks for Hextall

Hextall had some big decisions to make this offseason. With Malkin, Letang, and Bryan Rust the Penguins’ top pending unrestricted free agents, he’s managed to retain all three. Rust was first, inking a six-year, $30.75 million deal. Letang signed his six-year, $36.6 million extension last week during the NHL Draft.

The Penguins also extended winger Rickard Rakell, who was acquired from Anaheim during the March NHL trade deadline, on a six-year, $30 million deal.

Now with Malkin signed, the Penguins have $4,208,158 in salary cap space, according to Cap Friendly. After not offering Danton Heinen a qualifying offer this week, the only restricted free agent to make a decision on is Kasperi Kapanen, who has underwhelmed since coming over in a 2020 trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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