Hextall blasted by Clarke, Malkin and more

Welcome to Pittsburgh Penguins News & Rumors, where we cover all current club topics and dive into more than just scores. Prepare for some high-heat headlines that will take us through all the noise surrounding the beloved Pittsburgh Penguins.

Bobby Clarke lets go on Ron Hextall’s draft history

An interesting story began on Tuesday as longtime Philadelphia Flyers executive Bobby Clarke spoke about the 2017 NHL Draft and confirmed that no one in the organization wanted to draft Nolan Patrick for second and that it was. was strictly Ron Hextall’s decision.

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Clarke was the guest of Cam and Strick Podcast and didn’t hold back, throwing Hextall under the bus for several things and even blaming him for their struggles this season. The Penguins general manager was an executive with the Flyers from 2014-18 and was fired a month after the start of the 2018-19 season. He went on to work for the Los Angeles Kings and then, of course, moved to Pittsburgh after Jim Rutherford resigned. Here’s what Clarke had to say about the Flyers missing out on Cale Makar with poor decision making:

Bobby Clarke “None of our scouts wanted Nolan Patrick” also says that Philly could have had Ryan O’Reilly. Full episode available now. Inasmuch as@CamandStrick#LetsGoFlyers https://t.co/PYA6LFa7wW

Needless to say, this is not an over quarrel and I would expect Hextall to address it very briefly at some point this week. It’s not often that you get thrown under the bus about draft picks three years after the fact and while working for another team.

Penguins general manager talks about rebuilding against cup races

Hextall recently spoke with Pierre LeBrun from athleticism and opened on its first year with the franchise. It’s been almost a full calendar year since he arrived, and considering everything that has happened in Pittsburgh, it has been a rather successful tenure that seems to only get better.

Hextall was very honest about his love for the team and their group, referred to the roster character several times, and explained to LeBrun that no one should ever bet against Sidney Crosby. Penguins fans know that when Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are in the lineup, there is a chance to win the Stanley Cup and that is certainly the goal this season.

Kris Letang # 58, Sidney Crosby # 87 and Evgeni Malkin # 71
Expect to see the Big Three of the Penguins together for years to come in Pittsburgh
(Photo by Brian Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the things that surprised me was that Hextall commented on Letang and Malkin’s future and how contract extensions would not be publicly negotiated, but the main one being that these are extensions that could be finalized before the end of the season. It looked like it was definitely going to be saved for the offseason, but Hextall mentioned he was open to making deals during the season.

Malkin looks set to return to Anaheim

After extensive practice participating in both line rushes and getting reps in the first power play, it looks like the Penguins will welcome Malkin back to the roster against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s been a long journey since knee surgery in the offseason and he says he’s good to go and his knee has never felt so strong.

There’s no doubt that Malkin improves the squad when he’s in the roster and any reports you see about him disrupting the squad chemistry should be tossed in the trash. The Penguins are a better team with their longtime center in the roster and given Evan Rodrigues’ performance this season, it will be fun to see the second line get down to business for Pittsburgh. Another x factor is the chemistry Malkin had with Kasperi Kapanen last season. Needless to say, it will be a tough job for head coach Mike Sullivan to assemble the best roster possible when everyone is healthy and back from COVID protocols. Oh, the fun problems to have as a coach.

The Penguins begin their West Coast journey on Tuesday night against the Ducks, then face the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks later this week. You might want to mix in an after dinner coffee to help keep you awake for the action. Otherwise, be sure to follow here at Hockey writers and we will definitely do our best to keep you updated as much as possible.

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