Tampa Lightning forward Ryan Malone is expected to be one of the most sought out players at the NHL draft as sources tell Inside Pittsburgh Sports, Malone approached Lightning management about being moved at the trade deadline.
Lightning GM Brian Lawton was Malone’s former agent and the two sides have a close relationship. We’re told Lawton will at least look into the possibly of granting Malone’s wish at next month’s draft.
During the trade deadline, the Lightning held talks with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and the Minnesota Wild regarding Malone.
Malone expressed a strong desire to former teammates about returning to Pittsburgh.
Among the teams already expressing interest are the Ottawa Senators,
Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and the LA Kings. It is unknown if the Wild still have interest as Doug Risebrough was fired last month.
Ottawa has had interest in Malone since they nearly acquired him at the 2006 trade deadline and are seeking a big power forward to play alongside Jason Spezza.
Pittsburgh will be a wildcard because they showed interest at the trade deadline. Malone has 6 years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $4.5 million season. What turned the Penguins off was the term of the contract not the amount of money per season.
I have not heard anything significant that the Penguins will get involved again, but if the Penguins decide Malone is the $4.5 million winger they want, then they will get involved again.
Still too early in the process right now.
Malone had 26 goals – 19 assists – 45 points last season.
Photo courtesy of Kaatiya