Penguins icon Evgeni Malkin to test free agency for first time in career

Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers during the second period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 13, 2022. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Future Hall of Famer Evgeni Malkin will test free agency for the first time in his career this week, Sportsnet can confirm.

Malkin, who turns 36 at the end of this month, has spent his entire 16-year career with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won three Stanley Cups with the franchise.

Rob Rossi of The Athletic reports that term remains the hold-up in negotiations with the Penguins. Rossi reports that the Penguins prefer Malkin signs for three years, which would link his new contract with the final three years on Sidney Crosby's deal. However, Rossi reports, Malkin would prefer a longer commitment.

The two-time Art Ross winner has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, including two ACL surgeries. He has played more than 70 games only once in the past 10 seasons, although some of those campaigns were cut short by the pandemic.

Still, he remains a talented offensive player when in the lineup. Last season he had 20 goals and 42 points in 41 games.

Malkin was one of three major free agents the Penguins had to negotiate with this off-season but is the only one set to test the open market. Defenceman Kris Letang and winger Bryan Rust will both be returning on new six-year contracts.

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