The Pittsburgh Penguins have opened initial contract talks with both Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, with the two franchise stalwarts both slated for unrestricted free agency this summer, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports.
Dreger noted Thursday on Insider Trading that the discussions remain preliminary, but in both cases the player and team are looking to complete an extension.
"Well, there have been initial contract discussions. And I’m not even sure to be fair to qualify them as negotiations at this point," Dreger said. Obviously, Ron Hextall, the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is getting work done this week in signing Jeff Carter. I don’t believe that there’s going to be much of a stalling process with Letang or Malkin. The Penguins have been talking to the Letang camp now for a while and Malkin, again, just based on entry-level discussions over the last couple of weeks. But they do have to hammer out term and money.
"Obviously both players and the organization want to keep the family intact."
Malkin and Letang have spent their entire careers in Pittsburgh, winning three Stanley Cups.
Malkin, 35, is currently in his 16th season with the franchise. The two-time Art Ross Trophy winner and 2012 Hart Trophy winner has four goals and 10 points in nine games this season after recovering from off-season surgery.
Selected second overall in the 2004 draft, Malkin has 428 goals and 1,114 points in 949 career games.
Letang, who will turn 35 in April, has five goals and 38 points in 39 games this season.
A third-round pick of the Penguins in 2005, the Montreal native has 139 goals and 620 points in 902 games over 16 years with the team.
Letang carries a cap hit of $7.5 million on his expiring deal - signed in 2013 - while Malkin has a $9.5 million cap hit in the final season of the eight-year, $76 million contract he signed in 2013.