PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin is staying in Pittsburgh for quite some time.
The Penguins signed the MVP finalist to a five-year extension worth US$43.5 million on Wednesday, a deal that will keep him under contract until 2013-14. The 21-year-old forward still has one year left on his initial three-year, entry level contract.
His deal is equal to one signed last year by teammate Sidney Crosby that begins with the upcoming season.
“This is an important signing for our franchise and the city of Pittsburgh and we commend Evgeni on his commitment to the future of the franchise and the city,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero said in a statement. “This signing continues to ensure the young core of this team can stay intact for years to come.”
The Penguins also signed a $22.5-million, six-year contract with defenceman Brooks Orpik, considered by Shero to be a “mainstay.” The deal averages $3.75 million per year, or less than Orpik was offered elsewhere.
Signing Malkin was key to the Penguins, who lost Marian Hossa to the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings and forward Jarkko Ruutu to the Ottawa Senators earlier Wednesday. Without a new deal, Malkin could have become a free agent after next season. That led to speculation that Malkin could be dealt by the Penguins, though Shero said such talk was mere fantasy.
“There was never ever a consideration of trading Evgeni Malkin. I have never offered Evgeni Malkin to any team,” Shero told reporters.
Malkin will earn $9 million for each of the first four seasons of the deal and then $7.5 million in 2013-14. He has one year left at $984,000.
Crosby and Malkin took discounts to stay in Pittsburgh, as each could have made about $11 million per season under the NHL salary cap. Hossa, however, went elsewhere despite being offered a far longer deal and much more overall money by Pittsburgh.
The Penguins reportedly offered Hossa $7 million per year for as few as five years or as long as seven years. Instead, he took Detroit’s $7.4-million, one-year offer because he felt the Red Wings offered the best chance to win the Stanley Cup next season.
“I feel like Detroit is the team,” said Hossa, who had 12 goals and 14 assists in the playoffs while playing on Crosby’s line.
After the Stanley Cup finals last month, Hossa said he was willing to play at a discount to stay in Pittsburgh and challenge again for the Cup.
Malkin had 47 goals and 59 assists last season and was a first-team All-Star and a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which is given to the NHL’s most valuable player.
Malkin was selected by the Penguins with the second overall pick in the 2004 draft. He scored 33 goals in the 2006-07 season on his way to being selected the league’s rookie of the year.
Orpik played 78 games last season, recording a goal and 10 assists. The 27-year-old defenseman ranked fifth in the NHL with 239 hits.