Kukla's Korner Hockey
by brianmetzer on 07/28/11 at 05:19 PM ET
Ah, the summertime… bikinis, baseball, hot dogs, humidity, high temps, vacations and ABSURD trade rumors. I realize that the probability of an absurd trade rumor making the rounds is much higher during the months between the start of unrestricted free agency and the opening of training camps, but sometimes I have just got to shake my head and tell you that something isn’t going to happen.
The interesting thing about the rumors that have actually prompted me to sit down and write a blog contradicting them is that they seemingly always revolve around Evgeni Malkin.
It started a few years ago when I had to shoot down talk of Malkin to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk. It just wasn’t going to happen and not surprisingly it didn’t.
It didn’t make sense.
As most of us have seen over at the Penguins official site, Malkin is currently in Russia training with Penguins’ strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar. All is going according to plan and head coach Dan Bylsma is anxious to get his “1B” back in the fold and onto a line with Jordan Staal – at least for a period of experimentation.
It is also worth noting that most that I have talked to say that he has a chip on his shoulder and would like to explode back on to the scene in a huge way this season. Geno Machino knows that he has work to do to get back into the “best player in the league” conversation and he used his knee rehabilitation as motivation to get there.
All of which is why it makes absolutely ZERO sense for the Penguins to entertain trading Malkin right now, especially to a team like the Los Angeles Kings. Though the Kings have long been a popular destination for the rumormongers to speculate about, it makes no sense for the Birds and heading into this season it barely adds up for the Kings.
Sure… a couple of years ago the Kings would have loved to graft Malkin onto their depth chart, but today? I can’t see a fit. Especially when the rumored return would be Drew Doughty!
The Kings already have Anze Kopitar, the newly acquired Mike Richards, and the steady Jarret Stoll on board. Why on earth would they trade their marquee blue liner to acquire another center, especially one that could potentially knock Mike Richards into a third line role? Mike Richards isn’t Jordan Staal…he isn’t in LA to be a defensive player. Sure he will kill penalties and everything that you are used to seeing him do, but he is there to play in the top six.
A Malkin inquiry would have gone on before Richards was acquired.
Now onto the other side of the deal… yes, every team in the league could use a Drew Doughty, but not one that already has $16,250,000 dollars per year, over the next three, tied up in its blue line. The Penguins are locked and loaded on defense for the foreseeable future.
If you want to spark this talk three years from now, then maybe we can at least speculate, but not today. The Birds aren’t going to push Paul Martin or Zbynek Michalek into the 5 or 6 slot to acquire a defenseman that would likely become one the team’s highest paid players. The cap doesn’t allow teams to have that luxury.
I know that it is a crazy for me to suggest logic come into play when talking hockey trades, but sometimes it is all you need to realize that something just doesn’t smell right. You can temper this stuff with all of the “it’s just speculation” disclaimers that you like, but even suggesting such a move when it doesn’t work fiscally or depth chart-wise is just irresponsible.
Last but not least… Drew Doughty and Sidney Crosby may be friends based on their time with Team Canada, but everyone in the Burgh knows that it is Jack Johnson who is Crosby’s BFF…
Unfortunately we can only long for those simpler times that were filled with incessant Johnson to Pittsburgh talk!
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