Continuing on with the free agent target series, we look at a guy who has been one of the faces of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization for many years. Evgeni Malkin is a name that every hockey fan knows. His flashy and highlight reel plays, his playmaking ability and his 200 foot game have always made him one of the best in the game. He is also well known for showing up in the playoffs, as he currently averages over a point per game through 176 games played. As he creeps up to 1000 games played with well over 1100 points, Malkin will be looking for a final Stanley Cup run before he retires, and at the age of 35 he doesn't have too much time left.
Should the Blackhawks sign him?
If Malkin decides to leave Pittsburgh, whether because of money, contract length or whatever it may be, the Blackhawks need to inquire about him. He's still an elite level scorer and although he has been dealing with injuries, he was on pace to have over a point per game in a full 82 games played this season. With 42 points in 41 games during the regular season, he has proven that age still isn't catching up to him, and he's likely got 4-5 years left before he hangs them up.
At a contract around $3-4M AAV with a 2-3 year length, Malkin could become a massive part of the Blackhawks lineup. Alongside Patrick Kane, Toews, Debrincat amongst others, Malkin would enhance the group into the most dangerous group in the NHL. If the team truly believes they can have a quick 1 year rebuild, Malkin would be the perfect addition to the team. His leadership amongst the many skills everyone knows he possesses would only add to the teams new and improved culture, and they would have the forward group that makes them a playoff team.