On any other team, he would be the stand-alone best player on the ice. He would be the first-line, goal scoring, stick-handling sensation that any franchise in the NHL would love to have.
Evgeni Malkin is a one-of-a-kind player and one of the best players in the NHL, skating for the Pittsburgh Penguins since the ’06-07 season. Pittsburgh is the only NHL team Malkin has played for, and the fans revere him as the second best player on their team, only overshadowed by Sidney Crosby – who many consider the best in the world.
Malkin at his best
Evgeni Malkin has been an absolute workhorse since his first year in the league and has pretty much maintained his excellence through his ten seasons in the NHL. He averages nearly 30 goals and 50 assists per season and is one of the best stick-handlers the league has seen in decades.
This season Malkin played only 57 games and registered 27 goals and 31 assists, including six game-winning goals. His best season thus far in his career would have to be the ’11-12 season, when Malkin played 75 games and had 50 goals and 109 points. He has come close to that level of performance in several other seasons, like in ’08-09 when he got 113 points from 35 goals and 78 assists in 82 games, or in ’07-’08 with 106 points from 47 goals and 59 assists. He is a great player, no doubt about that.
#71 was drafted in 2004, 2nd overall by Pittsburgh. He stands at 6’3’’, 212 lbs of pure athleticism, and is now 29-years-old. This season has not been Malkin’s best, stats-wise, as he was plagued with injuries that held him to only 57 regular season games.
But Geno has struggled mightily this postseason. He has just 5 goals and 12 assists in his 20 playoffs games, and only just registered his first goal since Game 4 of the Tampa Bay series, and that goal was his only goal in the last 15 games.
It’s safe to say that Malkin has been under-performing in the playoffs. Compare him to teammate Phil Kessel, who has ten goals and 19 points this post-season, and leads the Penguins in both goals and points.
Still, Malkin is now joint fourth on his team for playoff points, only behind Nick Bonino (17), Sidney Crosby (17) and Phil Kessel (19). So even when Malkin is struggling, he’s still one of the top guys on the ice.
On the reel
The last time Malkin had a standout performance in a playoff game this postseason was Game 4 against the New York Rangers, in the first round. Malkin racked up two goals and two assists in the 5-0 victory in New York and was looking the best he has looked this entire postseason.
Onwards for Malkin
This Penguins superstar has been just that his entire career in Pittsburgh, with a slight decline this postseason, possibly due to opposing teams focusing on shutting him down, maybe a lack of need for him to perform at his offensive best, or just a lack of focus on his part. But one thing’s for sure, Malkin is a once-in-a-generation superstar and deserves every bit of love and praise he receives from the fans and fellow players. Now that Geno has scored his first goal, and assist, of the Stanley Cup Final, it seems he’s set to continue and ravage the Shark, with the Pens needing just one more dominating win to hoist the Stanley Cup.