Reports out of Russia say that Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a contract to play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League if the start of the 2012-13 NHL season is delayed by a lockout.
J.P. Barry, who is Malkin's agent, confirmed that Malkin has spoken with teams in Moscow and Magnitogorsk about a week-to-week agreement that would allow him to play during a lockout, if there is one, but that nothing has been finalized.
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement is set to expire Sept. 15, and Commissioner Gary Bettman has said the owners will lock out players if a new deal is not in place by then.
Magnitogorsk is Malkin's hometown team and the one for which he played before coming to North America.
Numerous NHL players accepted contracts to play in Europe during the labor dispute that wiped out the 2004-05 NHL season, then returned to the NHL when labor peace was restored.
Malkin has two seasons remaining on his contract with the Penguins.
Dave Molinari: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @molinaripg. First Published August 27, 2012 5:45 PM