According to Reuters, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass is reporting that Malkin has left his Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk during training camp in Finland. Malkin, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins second overall in 2004 behind Alexander Ovechkin, reportedly disappeared, taking his belongings and passport with him. Earlier this week, the Russian star reworked his two-year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and agreed to a new one-year deal.
Malkin has made no secret of his wishes to play with the Penguins in the National Hockey League. But the Russian Ice Hockey Federation has yet to sign a transfer deal with the NHL and Malkin has found himself in the middle of the impasse.
The previous transfer agreement would have seen Metallurg Magnitogorsk receive just $200,000 in exchange for Malkin.
There has been no shortage of drama since Malkin decided to stay in Russia last season. J.P. Barry has confirmed to TSN that he and Pat Brisson have taken over the hockey management side of IMG, whom Malkin fired in June, and Malkin has left Don Meehan and returned to be represented by Barry and Brisson.
“His wish is to play in the NHL, and in Pittsburgh,” Barry told the AP. “We will continue to talk to him about his future, and we will decide the best course for him at this time.”
A premier offensive talent, Malkin led Magnitogork with 47 points in 46 games last season. The 6-foot-3 pivot was expected, along with phenom Sidney Crosby, to give the Penguins an elite one-two punch down the middle.