According to the Pittsburgh Penguins official website, the Pens have decide to trade to the Tampa Bay Lightning the rights of unrestricted free agents Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts. In exchange for this, the Pens get a 4 th round draft pick in the 2009 entry draft pick that could turn into a third round pick if Tampa Bay signs Malone to a contract.
I am posting this three days after it happened so I could sit down and let it sink in to decide if I am mad or disappointed and who to direct these emotions towards. I am not in the bargaining room with either of these and have no clue what they were offered but I do know that Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero stated that neither player had intentions of resigning with the team and wanted to test the market. As Malkin apparently considers his options to play in Russia, is giving up on both of these two something we really should do or were both just so unhappy in Pens uniforms that it didn't matter what the team offered, they were gone? And in light of these news items, what will this Stanley Cup finals team look like next year? And is Barry Melrose making quite an impression already or what especially since Tampa also just picked up the rights to Minnesota Wild's Brian Rolston for a conditional draft pick as well?
One aspect of this deal I did not mention yet, Tampa has only a few more hours left to sign Malone and Roberts before they officially become unrestricted free agents on July 1st. So its entirely likely that Pittsburgh ends up with a draft pick and neither man signs with Tampa Bay when it's all said and done so could it be a great deal for Pittsburgh after all. To me, if I am Tampa Bay, I would definitely give Ryan Malone a great offer as I think he can skate in and make a great impression from the first time he gets on the ice and in every game. I also think Scary Gary Roberts can be a great asset to a team as well looking for an experienced defenseman. My question is, what are the two guys looking for and what are teams willing to pay them?
I will conclude with this statement, this is exactly why I refuse to spend a lot of money on a specific player's jersey. Yes, I understand free agency is a great asset to players and allows them to do what they feel is in their best interest but that doesn't mean I have to like every aspect of it. In fact, last time I paid a lot of money for a sports jersey was a Shaq Orlando Magic jersey and Penny Hardaway jersey as well and how did that work out for me? I do wish the best for both men and thank them for their contributions towards this team as a Pens fan but part of me can't help but wonder how much better this team could be with them still members of the team. There is a lot of time between now and the start of NHL season so who knows, maybe the Penguins can acquire some players of their caliber as well to help soften the blow. And what about Malkin, does this now make it a stronger case to sign and secure him to a long term deal or where do they go from here?