The bright future of the Pittsburgh Penguins may become even brighter next month.
According to the Pittsburgh Star-Review, Evgeni Malkin says he will likely sign a contract extension with the Penguins as soon as the collective bargaining agreement allows it. Currently, Malkin is entering the final year of his three-year entry-level contract and can't sign an extension until July 1.
''I'm thinking maybe five or six years,'' Malkin told the Star-Review. ''I'm an easy guy to deal with. I'd love to stay in Pittsburgh.''
Malkin told the newspaper he does not need to exceed the $8.7 million salary of captain Sidney Croby but sources tell TSN the likely target for Malkin is a five-year deal worth more than $9 million per season.
Neither Penguins general manager Ray Shero nor Malkin's agent, J.P. Barry, could be reached for comment by the Star-Review.
This past season, Malkin broke out with 47 goals and 59 assists for 106 points while playing in all 82 games for the Penguins. For his efforts, the Russian star was nominated for the Hart Trophy, losing out to countrymate Laexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals.
In the playoffs, Malkin had a tougher time. Despite finishing with 22 points in 20 games, he struggled in the Stanley Cup Final, not registering a point until Game Six.