Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero announced Saturday that the Pittsburgh Penguins have traded the rights to pending unrestricted free agent forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Dallas’ fourth round pick, previously obtained by Tampa Bay, in the 2009 Entry Draft. In the event Tampa Bay signs Malone to a contract for the 2008-09 season, the pick will become Tampa Bay’s third round pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Both Malone and Roberts are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2008.
“I want to thank both Gary Roberts and Ryan Malone for their time here. They both did incredible jobs for us on and off the ice. They made our team better,” Shero said. “We had an incredible run this year and both players had a great amount to do with that. Both of their times here will be remembered fondly by the Penguins and the fans. We wish them nothing but the best.
“From our standpoint, we had discussions with Ryan throughout the year and it appeared from our ability to make a deal with him that July 1 was going to be there for both players,” he continued. “At end of the day with Ryan, in particular, we didn’t think we were going to go where he was going to be in the market. Ryan said he might want to go to July 1 and see what is there and those are his rights in CBA and I don’t begrudge him at all. It’s an important contract for him and his family. Instead of taking the risk, we tried to do the best we could and acquiring the draft pick is important for us. I had a nice talk with him and thanked him for everything. It was a nice story for him in Pittsburgh, especially with the way played. I hope it works out for everyone.
“Gary said he wasn’t returning. He was going to move on, which was right for both sides. This deal gives both players before July 1 to get in discussions with Tampa Bay. That’d be a great story for them if it worked out.”