On The Malkin Trade Nonsense

Whenever Sidney Crosby plays well (and that happens a lot) the crazies come out of the woodwork suggesting that the Pens should/will trade Evgeni Malkin.  Stoosh made mention of this earlier today.  Obviously, it's complete nonsense.
Evgeni Malkin is one of the top players in the world.  Even if you completely disrespect his ability, you have to place him within the top 30 or so in the league.  He's less than two years removed from winning the Art Ross and the Conn Smythe.  He's an all world talent.
If Malkin was ever put on the trading block, every general manager in the league would be interested.  Not every team would be able to afford him, both from a salary viewpoint and in terms of sending assets back to Pittsburgh, but he would definitely garner huge interest.
Without a doubt he is, at a minimum, the second-most talented offensive player on this team, and it's debatable that he's equal to or better than Crosby on many nights.
If the Penguins did end up trading him, they would not get a player back that is as talented as he is.  That's pretty much guaranteed.  So why would they want to trade him?  The team is far from struggling on the ice right now and it's not in a salary cap hell situation like Chicago was either.  From everything we've heard, Malkin doesn't have an attitude problem and he's liked by his teammates.  Considering his talent, his contract is reasonable as well.
So why would the Pens trade him?  Because they already have a talented center in Crosby?  Because Jordan Staal is coming back?  Wait… we thought Jordan Staal sucked and that HE'S the one who should be traded?  Should Malkin be traded because he's not having an excellent season?

That's ridiculous.


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Alex Ovechkin isn't having a great year by his standards either.  As insane and irrational as Caps' fans, media and bloggers usually are, we don't hear anyone advocating an Ovechkin trade.  Trading a player because he's in a slump is the kind of move that's almost guaranteed to backfire when the player gets hot for his new team.

So Malkin should be traded because he's a center and the Pens already have too many centers?  Ridiculous as well.  Why would you ship off one of the best players in the game simply because he happens to play the same position as Crosby?  Didn't the Pens win the Stanley Cup with Malkin, Crosby and Staal at center?  Malkin has thrived in that spot before, so what makes anyone think it's so impossible that he would thrive there again?  The "trade for a winger for Sid" argument doesn't work here either.  Again, whatever player or players came back to the Pens as the result of a Malkin trade wouldn't be as good as Malkin.  You'd be reducing the talent level on the team in order to get a winger for Sid, a winger that he seems to be playing just fine without.

The only other possible argument for trading Malkin would be that the Penguins are succeeding without him.  If that's your basis for a trade, you're dead wrong.  The Penguins are succeeding without Malkin and Staal right now.  Does that mean they should trade both of them?  Brent Johnson hasn't played in a while, maybe he should be traded too?  

The bottom line is that no team has ever regretted having too much talent.

Another insane thing whenever trade rumors are discussed is the fan that says "This player sucks.  Trade him."  If he sucks so bad, why would anyone be willing to trade for him?  Why would any team give up assets for a player who sucks?  And if a team is willing to give up considerable talent in order to trade for someone, then doesn't that mean the player in question doesn't suck so bad after all?

To summarize, because this ended up being longer than I assumed:

  • Malkin is a great player
  • The Pens are playing well
  • They don't have any crippling cap issues
  • Why trade Malkin?

Sure, it would be great if Geno went to another level and dominated the game every night.  Obviously it would be amazing to see Crosby play with one or two true top flight wingers.  But you can't always get what you want.  Trading Malkin may seem like a good idea in the short term, but think about watching him raise the Cup over his head in Los Angeles or wherever else in a few years and it doesn't seem so great.  Think about if Crosby is injured or slumping and having only Jordan Staal available to cover his spot at center.  Think about life without Malkin before you ship him out of town.