Did Dallas Stars Tamper With Evgeni Malkin?

By Casey Drottar
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest priorities for the Pittsburgh Penguins this offseason was re-signing Russian superstar Evgeni Malkin. He still had a year left on his contract, but it was probably best to get him locked up before hitting the market next summer. They succeeded, signing him to a brand new eight-year, $76 million contract.

Since Malkin wasn’t a free agent, Pittsburgh was the only team allowed to make any sort of offers, which appears to have been the case here. Or does it?

Malkin’s father, Vladimir, seems to have heard differently.  Speaking with SovSport, the elder Malkin is under the impression that the Dallas Stars made an offer to the Penguins forward this summer.

When asked about recent NHL defector Ilya Kovalchuk and if Malkin would consider doing the same, his father stated ,“I don’t think so. If [Malkin] wanted to, he would not be so quick to extend his contract with Pittsburgh, as happened this summer. Actually the Penguins were in no hurry to sign my son. The negotiations weren’t going well. But at the last moment when [Malkin] was ready to go to Russia, Pittsburgh suddenly agreed to all the conditions [Malkin’s] agent put forward.”

Things got interesting when he elaborated.

“You know, Dallas offered my son a bigger contract than Pittsburgh. And [Malkin] replied ‘No, I don’t want [to go] there.’ And that’s when the Stars had already signed Sergei Gonchar. His [Malkin’s] best friend [Gonchar] was there. Why not agree to go there?

“But son said ‘If things in Pittsburgh were ever to go downhill and I would have to leave, I would pick the New York Rangers or the Montreal Canadiens. There are a few clubs, but I am in no rush to be in Dallas. But actually I don’t want to change houses, go somewhere. I am used to Pittsburgh – to the city and the team.’”

Well that’s good to hear for the Penguins. On the other hand, if this is true, it’s absolutely the worst thing the Stars want to hear.

If Dallas did indeed make an offer on Malkin this summer, it would be an unbelievably obvious violation of league tampering charges. It’s 100 percent illegal for any team to make an offer on a player under contract with another club. Such a claim may cause commissioner Gary Bettman to open up an intense investigation on the matter.

There is, of course, always a chance that Malkin’s father misheard the entire situation. It’s hardly a long-shot. Who knows if it was just Gonchar telling Malkin “hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you joined Dallas?”

You have to hope this is indeed the case. Could Dallas really be that stupid to make an offer on player under contract?

To their credit, the Stars have quickly come out to deny any tampering charges. However, one has to wonder where Malkin’s father heard about this “bigger contract”.

Unfortunately, these claims, regardless of where they came from, can’t be taken lightly. Expect the league to look into this matter to see if there’s any weight to it.

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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