For the Pittsburgh Penguins, it looks like the Ryan Malone saga has finally ended, well sort of.
TSN reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired the exclusive negotiating rights to Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from Pittsburgh, in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick.
While this may get some of you Penguin followers all up-in-arms, don't get too excited just yet.
The Penguins have traded the rights to Malone and Roberts, not the players themselves.
This trade basically means that Tampa Bay will get "first dibs" on negotiating a contract with Malone and Roberts before the two players could entertain offers from any other teams following July 1.
We knew Roberts was leaving town. The Lightning should not have a problem signing Roberts. He knew his time with Pittsburgh was done, and you have to believe he wouldn't mind playing on a team that is trying to climb out of the cellar and get back to the playoffs.
Malone on the other hand, could pose a little more difficulty for the Bolts. While playing with Vinny, St. Louis, Prospal, and now Stamkos, is an attractive offer, it seems to be all about the dollar sign for Malone.
If the Lightning offer him a fat, juicy contract, he will likely be looking for property in South Florida. If not, he will likely continue to hold out and wait to get exactly what he wants.
Either way, you must now ask yourself, WWGRD... in South Beach?
Image courtesy of TampaBayLightning.com