NHL: GM Ron Hextall wants to retain the services of Kristopher Letang and Evgeni Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall reiterated his desire to retain the services of Kristopher Letang and Evgeni Malkin.

Both Penguins veterans are unsigned for next season. They are entitled to full autonomy on July 13th.

“We’ve had and will continue to have discussions recently,” Hextall said, as reported by reporter Wes Crosby.

“Both have been here for 16 years. Geno was an excellent player for us, certainly one of the best in the history of the sport. We want to keep him with us until the end of his career. In an ideal world, Geno would retire to the penguins’ uniform. Same for Tangier. These are the players you don’t see often. We will continue to work with the two parties in the hope of reaching an agreement, but I do not have a deadline,” added the CEO, specifying that adjustments would have to be made regarding payroll and that this was quite a mystery .

According to the Penguins’ GM, the most important file on his desk is that of Evgeni Malkin. Hextall said if the team can’t come to terms with the soon-to-be 36-year-old Russian, he’ll have to find a new solution for the No. 2 position at center behind Sidney Crosby.

Ever since Malkin, Letang and Captain Sidney Crosby came to Pittsburgh, the Penguins have been spending to the max. That “win at all costs” approach will likely be the same since Ron Burkle and former star Mario Lemieux sold the team to Fenway Sports Group (FSG) last fall.

The question, however, is how much the Penguins are willing to stretch to retain the services of two of their 35-year-old props, who are just two months away from testing the free-agent market for the first time. her career.

Letang doesn’t seem to have slowed down. The defender has just reached a personal high with a 68 point harvest while being very responsible in his territory. His average playing time is 25:47 and he said last week that he would like to play at least five more years.

Letang also just landed a deal that earned him $7.25 million annually. The Sainte-Julie skater said last week that he would like to stay in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins-GM’s offseason got off to a strong start on Sunday with Bryan Rust’s six-year contract extension. The forward would also become an unrestricted free agent.

Hextall revealed Rust underwent minor knee surgery to clear debris. That nothing heralded the delay in starting next season.

So, six months after the FSG came into the picture, it looks like there won’t be any drastic changes at the Penguins, even in their offices. Hextall, who was succeeded by Jim Rutherford after his abrupt resignation in February 2021, therefore appears to be the team’s go-to person for at least the early years of Crosby’s late reign in Pittsburgh.

“Everything is fine,” Hextall said. They (Fenway Sports Group) are dying to win… We are currently analyzing the possibility of adding staff and such. We’re on the same wavelength. »

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