The Russian starlet, who was selected by the Penguins with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, is under contract to his hometown team until 2008.
(CP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will have to wait another year before highly-touted prospect Evgeni Malkin suits up for the NHL team.Malkin's agent, Pat Brisson, said Friday that his client will play in Russia's top pro league this season.
"He's made a decision to stay in Magnitogorsk one more year," Brisson said in a telephone interview. Brisson said while Malkin does not have an escape clause in his Russian deal, he doesn't think it will be a problem if he wants to play in the NHL next season. "The owner has been good to him there and he wants to stay one more year," Brisson said. "There's a good chance that he'll be (in Pittsburgh) a year from now."Malkin, 19, recorded 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points in 52 games last season with Magnitogorsk. His Russian contract is worth $1.3 million US tax-free but he could have made more than that in Pittsburgh with performance bonuses. The Penguins have until June 1, 2008, to sign Malkin or they will relinquish his NHL rights.Russia is the only holdout in the transfer agreement between the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Russian federation did not sign the two-year deal that compensates European clubs for players who leave to play in the NHL, because Russian clubs want to negotiate their own terms with the league. But Brisson said that wasn't an issue."His decision was based on his own personal need and what he wants to do," Brisson said. "So it has nothing to do with that." A phone message left with the Penguins was not immediately returned. Brisson said the NHL club respects Malkin's decision. "They understand that it means a lot to him to stay there one more year," Brisson said. "At the same time, the Super Russian League is a good league and he'll be a little more mature and perhaps more ready when he shows up next year."
-thanks to www.sportsnet.ca
With Malkin not coming over this year, the Pens could add to their forwards with the likes of:
LW/C - Vincent Damphousse
C - Yanick Perreault
And I would love to see Palffy play with Bondra. Let's see what happens.