Offseason Player Grades: Evgeni Malkin

Regular Season Statistics

62 GP, 33 G, 39 A, 72 PTS, +18 +/-, 77 PIM

Playoff Statistics

25 GP, 10 G, 18 A, 28 PTS, +9 +/-, 53 PIM

Player Grade: A+

As a top 5 player in the league, Evgeni Malkin once again played like one. I think we’ve all come to terms accepting that he won’t be around for a full 82 game slate. That doesn’t matter though, when on the ice he’s a threat from the moment he’s out there. Players like Malkin make you get up out of your seat when he enters the offensive zone, even as great as he is, some plays he makes can still wow and surprise you.

He created opportunities this year like no one else has before, he played around with a few different teammates on his line, each excelling better with him as their centerman. Malkin saved his best for last though, scoring the most points by anyone in the playoffs after people questioned how we would perform this time. What else is there to say about him? He constantly provides a positive impact to this team, always remains between the top 5-10 in league scoring, yet still sometimes gets overlooked. Malkin is a true wondrous gem of luxury to the city of Pittsburgh.

Review

He might have missed 20 games because of injury this season but Malkin was as explosive as ever. The Penguins are a fine team even when missing 1 of their 2 headed monster, but theres an added element when Geno is there, he brings the team to a larger level that you didn’t know was capable of the squad.

Starting from the opening game against Washington, Geno got right to it scoring a goal and assist, he never looked back. Malkin picked up the slack when Sidney Crosby missed the 1st week of the season, even upon his return there was never a lull in Malkin’s game.

Other than winning all the Stanley Cups, this is close to my favorite moments ever. Fast Forward to the 2:20 mark:

He never went scoreless in more than 2 games in a row, showing his valued production to the world. You never had to worry about him, only wonder what he would do next. The defacto leader of the power play, Malkin was never 1 for shying away from the biggest moments.

Much of the highlighted mentions about Evgeni Malkin came away from the ice. It started when he was wrongfully snubbed of the top 100 players of all time list, a choice that is still egregious.

This motivated him even more, and he was briefly rewarded on February 17th when he recorded his 500th assist, a milestone moment for the assistant captain.

Storylines continued for him after his feud against Blake Wheeler. There was a hit made by Malkin on Wheeler that was definitely not the cleanest of checks yet garnered no disciplinary action from the league. Both men would drop the gloves in their next meeting after Geno accpeted the invitation.

Malkin was praised by NHL peers after a postgame interview where he pretty much explained that this how hockey works, he understood the magnitude after the original hit and has great respect for Wheeler, which is why he gave Wheeler the chance to fire back with a  fight. Geno universally received largely respected remarks for his interview.

Despite playing less games than others point leaders, Malkin still finished top 15 in regular season Points and his 1.16 Points Per Game landed him 4th overall.

His last bit of news finished after he put a bow on the Stanley Cup by fighting PK Subban and scoring the most points of the playoffs while winning a 3rd Cup. Malkin wears his heart on his sleeve, he wasn’t afraid to show it there.

He as always did have his spotlight on the ice also. This included the aforementioned 500th milestone assist for certain, but also a hat trick against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in a crazy 8-7 win over their rivals.

In the playoffs all he did was lead the way for the league in total points. Thanks to him having the clutch gene, Malkin had some very clutch goals at great times. His playoff moments include scoring the opening goal of the Stanley Cup Finals, some sweet (many of them power play) goals at home over Pekka Rinne’s glove side, and of course his Gordie Howe Hat Trick in game 5.

Maybe it was the top 100 snub, or personal pride being the top guy on his team against Crosby or his country against Ovehckin, but Malkin seemed to have a chip on his shoulder the whole year. For what it’s worth, I’d take Malkin over Ovechkin no question about it. Evgeni Malkin is an alpha.

2018 Preview

Penguins fans everywhere I believe expect the same things we have come to see from Malkin. From a team leader to comedic relief and another 80+ point season, I don’t see any signs or reason to think the he won’t be capable of what he does seamlessly from year to year. Will he play in every game this year? No, another 60 game season from Geno is better than 82 games of 85% of the league.

Conclusion

Evgeni Malkin did as Evgeni Malkin always does, and that’s dominate the game. Can you say much more about him? He plays with passion that won’t slow down, he takes it upon himself to carry the Penguins in the most important of moments. There’s a reason you can hear the PPG Paints Arena constantly chanting GENO! GENO! GENO! after an oncoming rush or a brief scrap he gets involved in.  Another hockey season saw Malkin at his best in both the regular and playoff season. Though he didn’t win the Conn Smythe even though he probably should have, a Stanley Cup is still nice. He will always be my favorite to watch, can’t wait to see it again next year.

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