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Malkin posing with his awards from the 2011-12 season.
Evgeni Malkin did more than enough to fill the gap left by Crosby when he tallied 50 goals and 109 points last season. His performance was more than enough to earn him the Art Ross and Hart trophies.
If Malkin can keep finding twine with Crosby back full-time, there’s no doubt the Penguins will be a force to be reckoned with. Granted, he likely won’t put up the same numbers if he isn’t the team’s sole offensive superstar.
Even so, he still has the capability to score in large sums. His rookie season was the only complete season he’s played where he scored less than 100 points.
Malkin and Crosby sharing a line would even benefit both. CBS Sports’ depth chart for the Penguins has Malkin listed as the second-line center.
However, if Malkin and Crosby were on the top line, the opposition’s defense wouldn’t be able to put a lot of pressure on one player. They’d have to split defensive pressure between Crosby and Malkin because locking down one would likely leave the other with plenty of offensive opportunities.
No matter which line he plays on, Malkin’s unprecedented scoring pace from last season could be key for the Penguins whenever the season resumes.
Michael Prunka is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist and Sports Writing Intern. Stay up to date with him by liking his Facebook page and following him on Twitter.