Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What should Malone do?

The rumours coming out of Pittsburgh lately are that Hossa is going to stay, Malkin's going to sign for less than he's worth, and MAF will sign an extension.

Oh, and there's the rumours about Ryan Malone. In fact, is it just me, or is he getting most of the headlines lately?

The guys over at Faceoff Factor are doing a great job at reporting all the news/rumours and giving all kinds of sources. One day it seems like Malone's rights will be traded, and now it looks like he will weigh his options at noon on July 1st.

I guess the rumour is that Shero ticked off Malone by low-balling him - maybe an offer of $3.5M a year? - and it seems like Malone may be able to sign a contract with another team worth upwards of $5M a year.

Now, everything is rumour at this point, but it seems like Malone wants a big paycheck. I guess you can't really blame him for going for the money if someone is willing to pay. If someone offered you a job that paid double your current salary, you'd consider it too.

But should Malone go for the money? If the GMs get into some kind of bidding war on Malone and drive the price up to $5M or more, should he take it?

There are plenty who would say, "Sure! If that poor schmuck is going to hand it out, grab the money and run!"

I, on the other hand, disagree.

I don't believe that Malone has proven himself worthy of that kind of paycheck. The second half of this past season was great, but before that...?

Malone played with one of the best centres in the world and he elevated his own game at the same time that Malkin stepped up. That line was incredible, but can we say that Malone will have the same success on another team? I really, truly don't know and that's not something you want to doubt if you are prepared to fork over $5M a year.

And besides, does a 50-point player even deserve that kind of big contract?

If Malone does decide to test the UFA waters on July 1st, I'd be willing to bet that the teams offering him that big contract are not Cup contenders. The big offers will come from desperate teams wanting to land a name in FA, and they will be willing to pay/drive up the price.

So, let's say that Malone does sign a big contract with another team. The GM of that team will surely come under fire if Malone doesn't pan out, but he won't be the only one. Once a player signs a contract, the expectations of that player reflect that contract. So, if Malone signs a $5M, long term contract, he will be expected to play and produce like one. If he doesn't, he will be criticized for his lack of production, even if it was the GM who made the offer in the first place. He will be much more likely to fall out of favour with his team and with other teams in the NHL because of not living up to expectations. Who knows, maybe he'd have his contract bought out and find himself without a team.

If I was in Malone's shoes, I would not go for the money. I would want to prove that this past year was not some kind of fluke. I'd take a smaller contract (say, $3.5M for 2 years) to stay with the Pens to try to win a Cup - after all, they are contenders now. Then I'd see what I could get in free agency.

Maybe I'm being unrealistic here, a bit naive in my thinking, and maybe I just believe that money isn't the most important thing in the world.

...and maybe I'm thinking too much of Alexei Yashin and how much of a disappointment he turned out to be for the NYI.


DaBich said...

I've made no secret of the fact that Malone is my fav player. (haha)
I HATE the thought of him leaving the Pens. I hope there is SOME way to work it all out that he stays.
He won't find a better line to play on than with Malkie and Sykora.
Nor a better team than the pens!

Loser Chris said...

You make great points. Malone isn't worth the kind of numbers being mentioned, especially based on his career numbers to date. That is all the more reason for him to cash in now. This is probably his only chance at a big payday for his career. I don't want to see Malone leave the Pens, but I don't blame him one bit for taking the money.

All that being said, it's pretty sad when a guy who has never even scored 30 goals in a season is getting this kind of attention and these kinds of dollar figures thrown about.

Michael said...

I can't picture Malone wearing any jersey but the Penguins. (actually, yes I can, but it is not as good.) The tough thing here that is that Malone is a Pittsburgh-born hockey hero.