Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a lockout deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, according to reports.
The deal seems to be a week-to-week deal that would allow Malkin to immediately return to the NHL should the league and the Players Association reach a labor agreement.
The 2011-12 Art Ross winner as the NHL’s leading scorer played with his hometown Magnitogorsk prior to joining the Penguins for the 2006-07 campaign.
Over three seasons with the KHL team, Malkin notched 36 goals and 55 assists in 132 games, all before he turned 21.
The NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on September 15. Commisioner Gary Bettman has said the league will lock out the players if a new deal is not reached by then, and to say things aren’t looking good would be a vast understatement. A lockout of at least a few months looks all but inevitable at this point.
Other reports state that former Penguin and current Ottawa Senator Sergei Gonchar has also agreed to play for Magnitogorsk during a lockout. Gonchar housed Malkin and played a large role in smoothing Malkin’s transition from life in Russia to life in Pittsburgh.
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