Report: Malkin wants Zaripov to sign with Penguins, play on his line

Russia's Evgeni Malkin, left, with teammate Danis Zaripov at the 2006 World Championship. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

As the hockey world awaits the potential landing spot for KHL star Danis Zaripov, one of the veteran’s countrymen is reportedly vying for his services.

Pittsburgh Penguins pivot Evgeni Malkin, fresh off his second Stanley Cup win in as many seasons, is hoping his club is the one to land Zaripov, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko:

The 36-year-old Zaripov was recently cleared to join the NHL despite being handed a two-year doping ban in the KHL in July. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press they decided to allow Zaripov to come to North America because pseudoephedrine, the substance in question, is not banned in the NHL, and because Zaripov was barred from testifying at the hearing for his KHL suspension.

Zaripov has played professionally in Russia for the past 18 seasons, netting six all-star nods and four KHL championships over that span. He spent the past four seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the same club Malkin played for prior to his entrance into the NHL, as well as during the league’s 2012-13 lockout.

During that recent four-year tenure with Metallurg, Zaripov amassed 87 goals and 227 points.

He and Malkin have suited up together for the national team on five different occasions, playing in the 2010 Olympic Games as well as the World Championships in 2006, 2007, 2014, and 2015. The pair won gold together in 2014, with Zaripov finishing as the tournament’s second-highest scorer.

Pittsburgh currently sits with over $3 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, with all of its free agents signed for the 2017-18 campaign.

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