NHL rumors: 3 teams that should make a run at Evgeni Malkin

These three teams should make a run at Evgeni Malkin should the Penguins choose to move on.

Evgeni Malkin, one of the very best to ever put on a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform, is set to be lost to free agency after one of the most successful 16-year runs a player can have.

The eight-time All-Star and 2011-12 Hart Trophy winner is coming off of a surprisingly strong season after a dip in performance in the previous year.

Over the course of his long and impressive career, Malkin has nearly 1,000 regular season games under his belt and three Stanley Cups to go with. He has spent every second of that career with the Penguins but rumors are beginning to circulate that he may not return to Pittsburgh.

NHL rumors: 3 teams that could make a run at Evgeni Malkin in free agency

#3 – New Jersey Devils

Joining the New Jersey Devils would be quite the change of scenery for Malkin. The Devils have made the playoffs just one time in the past ten seasons and have not won a playoff series since 2012. The club does, however, have Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Dougie Hamilton on their active roster so it is not without promise.

Malkin may very well be looking to chase after his fourth Stanley Cup victory but the Devils have one of the largest available payrolls in the league and could certainly swing the cash his way to bring him aboard as a veteran presence in their locker room.

The addition of Malkin to the Devils squad would add a third established center and he would be an incredible mentor to the up-and-coming Hughes and Hischier as the Devils look to improve where they stand in the Eastern Conference.

#2 – Toronto Maple Leafs

At this point, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who call one of the biggest hockey cities in North America home. They have not won a championship since 1967 and haven’t won a single playoff series since 2004.

Auston Matthews, an annual MVP contender, is the best player on this team and will remain the face of the franchise for many, many years to come. Matthews alone was not able to carry the Leafs to their first playoff-series win in almost 20 years, meaning the Leafs are likely to set their sights on the open market to bring aboard a proven winner with extensive playoff experience.

Enter Evgeni Malkin, who has three Stanley Cups under his belt and has 177 playoff appearances over the course of his 15-year NHL career. Bringing someone like him aboard would provide a huge boost to this Maple Leafs team who would love nothing more than to break through in the playoffs.

#1 – Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks, similarly to both the Devils and Maple Leafs, have not experienced deep playoff success in many years. The Ducks’ last playoff appearance was back in 2018 and their last advancement past the first round was the year before in 2017. Fortunately, they seem to be the closest to contention amongst the trio.

After four-consecutive years in which they did not even qualify for the playoffs, the Ducks appear to finally be turning a corner in their multi-year rebuild and have one of the most young, exciting and promising rosters in the NHL.

After losing face of the franchise Ryan Getzlaf to retirement, the team will lean on up-and-comers Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry to lead the club and an outside addition like Malkin would be most welcomed amongst both team and fans. Signing with the Ducks would likely give Malkin the best opportunity at (at least) one more championship before he calls it a career.

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