1) From what we have read/heard from various sources around the league (and we have previously reported) the stories that Malkin would settle for a contract extension with the Pens for LESS than what Crosby signed last spring are erroneous to say the least. Its not to say that Evgeny wants out of Steel Town (as he actually expressed prior to his arrival 2 summers ago http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2007/08/malkin-still-wants-trade.html ), but he does NOT feel he should be paid less than market value.
2) So what exactly IS market value for a Hart Finalist who is about to start the final of his 3 year entry level deal? Well, "think about what his country-men Alex Ovechkin got (9.5 mil) and go from there" is how one agent told us over this past weekend. He isn't Malkin's agent, but knows his agent/the facts well. He tells FAUXRUMORS exclusively (but of course anonymously) that Malkin will use whatever leverage he has to extract as many dollars from Pittsburgh. Not because he's necessarily a greedy bastard, but because he feels he's earned/deserves it!
3) If that means using offers from the 'new' Russian Continental league (where its rumored he was offered a 12 mil (USD) tax free, which is in excess of 15 mil) then so be it. We have been led to believe that Geno likes the states much more than he thought he would, so he'd prefer to stay here, but if things don't begin to coalesce and a new extension bear fruit that pays the star center in excess of 10 mil, look for the 'rumours' that he may return to 'mother Russia' to intensify. Without an enforceable transfer agreement it is actually possible for Malkin to leave as soon as next season if he desired, but we're told that is highly unlikely. Malkin intends to live up to his deal, and hopes that having yet another stellar season will further enhance his value.
4) To review, a player under the current CBA can NOT receive a salary that exceeds 20% of the salary cap maximum. In the first year of this CBA with a salary cap max of 39 mil, that individual max was 7.8 mil. With the expected rise to 56 mil for the next season that individual max will balloon to 11.2. If, as many project,the cap rises further to 60 mil for the 2009-2010 season(the first under an extension for Malkin) the individual max could be 12 million! Can/would the Penguins(or any team) afford to pay one player that amount? If Malkin has yet another Hart-worthy season the answer could be affirmative for a rival team, but with Pitt having other players top consider(Crosby) down the road they may have little choice but to trade his rights if that occurs. It will be interesting to see how things unfold the next few months. Ray Shero clearly has his work cut out for him. Yдача as they would say in Russia(Good luck!)
By the way, does anyone still believe the owners won the last CBA war?