Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts are officially members of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and defenceman Dan Boyle might be the player in the team's cross-hairs.
Malone has agreed to a seven year, $31.5 million contract, while Roberts agreed to terms on a one year contract that pays him a base salary of $1.25 million plus $10,000 for every game that he plays in the 2008-09 NHL regular season. So if Roberts were to play in all 82 games, he would earn $820,000 in bonuses, which could make his total income for the season $2.07 million.
Malone, who would have drawn considerable interest from around the NHL as an unrestricted free agent, will earn between $7 and $8 million in each of the first two years of the deal.
Tampa Bay traded a third-round draft pick in 2009 to the Penguins in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights to forwards Malone and Roberts on Saturday. On Sunday, the Lightning and Malone's camp got a deal done.
Adding some intrigue to the story, last week the Lightning hired former Penguins' player Greg Malone as their head pro scout. Greg Malone is the father of Ryan.
Malone, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound Pittsburgh native, played in 77 games with the Penguins last season and recorded 27 goals with 51 points. He also appeared in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2008 and tied for eighth in league scoring with six goals and 16 points as he helped Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup Finals. Malone set career highs for goals, assists, points, power-play goals (11) and game-winning goals (6) in 2007-08. He led the team in game-winning goals, ranked fourth in goals and third in power-play goals, while also ranking fourth among Penguin forwards in average ice time with 19:04.
The 27-year-old has played in 299 career NHL games, all with the Penguins, and amassed 87 goals, 169 points, 27 power-play goals, 11 shorthanded goals and 11 game-winning goals. Malone scored at least 20 goals in three of four NHL seasons.
With all the wheeling and dealing going on in Tampa, there is continued speculation that Boyle might be on the way out if the Lightning can work out a trade. Boyle has a no-trade clause, though, and he is not likely to waive it. The Lightning could put Boyle on waivers, but he would surely be claimed and the Lightning would get nothing in return but cap space, which makes that scenario unlikely, too.
Boyle's agent, George Bazos, told TSN he has not been contacted by the Lightning regarding Boyle's future with the team, and his client has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause.