LATEST PENS BUZZ
On Day 1 of free agency, Penguins GM Ron Hextall stated the team would likely start looking at extensions for Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang again, while also naming Bryan Rust
August has passed without extensions for any of three.
As for the Malkin and Letang talks, the sense in the organization continues to be that those situations will eventually sort themselves out with both players remaining Penguins’ past the 2021-2022 season.
Rust, though, continues to be more of a wildcard on where things eventually go this season. The 29 year old has evolved into one of the Penguins best two-way forwards, a major vocal leader in the room and has huge support in the organization from power brokers like of Sidney Crosby and head coach Mike Sullivan. While some of the fan base might try to say Rust rides the coattails of Sidney Crosby, that’s laughable to coaches and executives around the league who view Rust clearly as a $5+ million a year player that can easily command around six years in free agency. He’ll have a sizeable market if he hits free agency and the Penguins top line right winger is expected to garner consideration for TEAM USA in the 2022 Olympics.
One executive tells me Rust has the chance to be next year’s Zach Hyman on the free agent market. That’s how highly thought of he is outside of Pittsburgh.
To many around the league, the Penguins extending Rust should be an easy call this summer and should have happened by now. The Penguins, though, are slow playing contract talks to this point and it’s had some teams check in at various points this summer, namely the Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
As of last week, Hextall and Rust’ Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Hearing Kris Letang believes he has a good four to five years left in him and his agent Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" — The Penguins have never operated this summer with the doom and gloom surrounding Evgeni Malkin’s injury that some in media or as one Penguins source said, Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Pittsburgh considered one goaltending move this summer prior to free agency in late July, signing Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"