Could this potentially be the final season in which we see Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Fleury all play in a Penguins uniform together? Should GMJR wait another season to take the necessary steps or Is there something more, behind the scenes, at stake?
Not even a month ago news broke that the Pittsburgh Penguins could very well be up for sale. Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle (Majority owners) have not lost faith in their beloved franchise, but have realized that the time is now to sell the team and, for lack of a better term, cash-in on what they have built.
That is possibly the sole reason why we will see the Penguins core together this season. If it wasn’t for the fact that the price tag would drop exponentially without one of those four, it would not have been a surprise to see someone like Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang moved this summer.
Is this really the right move though, shouldn’t Lemieux and company be more focused on winning than selling?
Say what you want about moving or keeping one of those four players, but the proof is in the pudding. The Penguins cannot afford to continue going through the same steps in trying to capture glory again. Shero made a bold decision a few seasons back when he traded Jordan Staal for Brandon Sutter. He knew that at the price tag Staal wanted there was no way to afford other pieces to continue making his team a contender. Unfortunately I also believe that this move was the beginning of the downfall of Ray’s career with the Penguins.
It’s no longer about the money but more about the product that is available to put out on the ice. Crosby and Malkin have in many ways exceeded expectations since breaking into the NHL. But the fact remains that they have also become a big disappointment. 2 Cup Final appearances and 1 Stanley Cup. Compare that to the Blackhawks who have 3 Stanley Cups in that span of time and its easy to see how Crosby and Malkin have let down their fans.
It’s true the names on the back of the jersey sell tickets, none more so than Crosby and Malkin. But the real focus should be on what is on front of that jersey…the Logo. At this point keeping both Malkin and Crosby may be more damaging to not only the present state of the Penguins, but their future as well.
Is it possible that a move like this, one that should be highly considered this summer, is simply being pushed to the side because Lemieux and Burkle want to cash-in? For the sake of the organization I hope not, but it’s hard to see any other reason why Rutherford and company would not seriously consider moving one of the four core guys.
Something needs to change, it’s insane to believe that going through the same motions as last season or the five prior will give a different result. I am not putting this on Rutherford, I believe he has done well taking over for Ray Shero and will continue doing well. Unfortunately I think that he is being misguided or handcuffed so not to make any drastic moves.
Would moving someone like Evgeni Malkin help the team immediately? it’s hard to say, but one thing that is certain is it is something that hasn’t been tried yet by the Penguins and we now know the other option isn’t working, so why not?
There is no way Pittsburgh would receive enough compensation for a player like Malkin, Letang, Crosby or Fleury but change needs made, we need to see a shake up something that will knock this team back on track.
So here we sit, waiting for Mr. Rutherford to take one last shot at glory with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Fleury when maybe now is the time to try something different. If a move isn’t made this summer and we all witness another failure of a season, it will be imperative something is done next year or the future of this team will become even darker.
– Robert Slavinsky