It looks like Pittsburgh Penguins forward Ryan Malone will have a new team next season.
The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent told WTAE TV in Pittsburgh in a text message that "It's UFA for sure."
He also addressed a report in the Columbus Dispatch, that said the Columbus Blue Jackets were close to acquiring Malone's negotiating rights. The newspaper suggested deal could be consummated as early as Tuesday.
Malone wrote that "If Columbus was smart they wouldn't make the trade" as he fully intends to test the open market on July first.
The report in the Dispatch indicated the Blue Jackets would likely offer Malone a four or five-year contract worth between $4.5 million and $5.5 million per season.
Even if he doesn't go to Columbus, Malone seems to be sure that he won't be a Penguin next year.
"It was great in pittsburgh while it lasted .. But they (the Penguins) never made me a real offer."
Last season, Malone scored a career-high 27 goals and played a big role in the Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup Final.