If you don’t like the idea of signing Paul Bissonnette to round out the Penguins’ bottom six forwards, what about Ryan Malone?
Malone left Tampa Bay after a compliance buyout. He played the last six seasons with the Lightning after skating his first four NHL campaigns with the Penguins (2003-08, minus the season lost to the labor dispute).
He’s 34. Malone hasn’t always taken the best care of himself. His games played have slipped badly over the past four years. Malone’s scoring touch has abandoned him. He netted just five goals in 57 games last season.
But Malone is 6-foot-4, 224 pounds and still plays big. Still plays with edge and grit. Malone used to be Evgeni Malkin’s linemate. He couldn’t do that now. But as a fourth-liner, Malone could still pick his spots and contribute.
This past April 12, Malone got arrested in Tampa for DUI and cocaine possession. That’s hefty baggage. But sources say the cocaine charge will be dropped.
Bissonnette would provide more certainty. The Penguins would know exactly what they’re getting. Malone would be a bigger gamble, but with a much higher upside. Malone is a Pittsburgh guy. Born and bred. Given opportunity to make a final stand in his hometown, Malone would give 110 percent. That’s a guarantee.
Like Bissonnette, Malone provides glue. He helps hold the dressing room together. The Penguins weren't very adhesive last year. They need to fix that.