As Rob Rossi has begun to wave the flag on behalf of the Fenway Sports Group, we are being told that the Crosby, Malkin, Letang era is over. As the Fenway Group is unable to come to an agreement with two of the three superstars leaving us in uncertain territory for the summer and possibly for years to come. It seems that of the two, Malkin is the least likely to return to the Penguins. His cap hit is enormous and his play has been declining steadily. The once-dominant Russian center hasn’t had an MVP caliber season in a while and is unlikely to return to that form again. However, for a team that’s on the bubble, he could be a piece to put you over the edge. The three teams we are about to talk about all see themselves as playoff contenders for the next few years, and Geno could be a piece to push them higher up the power rankings.
01 – Washington Capitals
Imagine if you will the two greatest Russian Born NHLers coming together in the twilight of their career to try to win a cup. The story rights itself. The Russian hockey community would love it and I think the NHL wouldn’t mind it either. With Nicholas Backstrom’s future in great uncertainty, the great eight needs a new center. Who better than his countrymen. We have also never gotten to see these two play together. Even in the Olympics, they were split up. Imagine the offensive weapon they could be together. Cap-wise Backstrom coming off the books opens up more than enough money for Malkin. It may be a black eye to the Penguins, especially if these two face off in the playoffs, but for the rest of the league, the mere thought is mouth-watering.
02 – Ottawa Senators
Ottawa is a really bizarre team. They have some pieces that everyone loves, but they can’t seem to put them all together. They are young upfront and seem set in the middle, but maybe that’s good for Geno. With his decrease in speed and the fact he was never great in the circle, perhaps slotting him in at wing is the best way to get the most out of the aging star. Imagine Geno having less defensive responsibility and a lot more space with the puck. The results could total upwards of 40 goals. They have over 10 million in cap space and could use a dynamic offensive player in their ranks.
03 – St. Louis Blues
The Blues are such a weird team, they seem to be a collection of pieces that just find a way to win. They aren’t really young and could see their window closing soon. Yet they still have the pieces to make a push for the next few years. They will most likely lose Valadmier Teresenko next year, and guys like Tyler Bozak and David Perron are up in the air. They will need to replace that depth scoring and find someone to anchor their second line. They also should have almost 12 million in cap space after the Terasenko trade. More than enough to sign Geno and still address some problem areas.