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Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin silences KHL chatter, calls NHL his 'priority'

QMI Agency

Evgeni Malkin. (Reuters)

Evgeni Malkin. (Reuters)

With countryman Ilya Kovalchuk jumping ship two weeks ago, abruptly bolting to Russia and leaving $77 million on the table in North America, Evgeni Malkin is shooting down the possibility of doing the same.

Malkin, 27, told R-Sport news agency Thursday he is confident that there will not be a parade of Russian players heading to the Kontinental Hockey League in the near future.

"They're saying that this will become a trend, but it's really an exception to the rule," Malkin said of Kovalchuk's decision.

The two-time scoring champion added that the NHL is his "priority" now that Kovalchuk is seemingly gone for good.

Kovalchuk shocked the hockey world by inking a four-year deal with SKA St. Petersburg mere days after retiring from the NHL. The former New Jersey Devils sniper had 12 years remaining on a 15-year, $100 million contract.

In June, Malkin signed an eight-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the big-bodied centre sticks to his word, he'll be in a Penguins jersey through the 2021-22 season.

"Why would I look for something else?" Malkin asked rhetorically.

"I have everything."


Prior to Kovalchuk's departure, who was the best Russian NHLer?

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