Other than some kid named Sidney Crosby, no one is more Pittsburgh than Evgeni Malkin.
The Russian-born center joined the organization when the Penguins made him the second pick in the 2004 draft and he’s since spent 16 seasons on the ice in a black-and-gold sweater, scoring 511 goals in 1,158 regular- and postseason games.
Along the way he’s lifted the Stanley Cup three times while adding a Calder Trophy, a Hart Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a pair of Hart trophies to his mantelpiece.
Given all that, it’s hard to imagine his career ending anywhere else.
But it could happen, thanks to his imminent status as a 35-year-old free agent coming off a deal that paid $9.5 million annually on a team with nine other free agents to decide upon.
According to Josh Yohe of the Athletic, a return to the Steel City is “no sure thing.”
The B/R hockey team considered those issues and others while compiling a list of the top landing spots for a sure-fire Hall of Famer who’ll be without a team as of July 13.
Scroll through to see what we came up with and leave us a viewpoint or two of your own in the comments.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are close.
Coach Gerard Gallant and Co. got to the final four in the recently completed playoffs, pushing the Tampa Bay Lightning to six games before finally bowing out in the Eastern Conference championship series.
They’d beaten Pittsburgh and Carolina in a pair of seven-game duels along the way.
They’ve got a pair of significant forwards headed to free agency in Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp but a move to midtown Manhattan would allow Malkin to slot in as a No. 2 center alongside an elite winger in Artemi Panarin, had 96 points in 75 games in 2021-22.
Having Panarin as a linemate might soften the blow of a sudden change of residence for Malkin, and helping the Rangers hang the first banner at Madison Square Garden since 1994 would do something for a legacy that success in no other city could match.