Evgeni Malkin is easily having the worst season of his young NHL career. His stat line so far this year projects out to 19 goals and 38 assists for a total of 57 points. He also projects out to a minus-25. Awful numbers for such a highly priced superstar.
Even last year, when he only played in 67 games, he still put up 28 goals and 49 assists.
He looks lost out there, routinely getting behind opponents going the other way on breakaways and odd man breaks, and he has yet to score a power play goal this season.
I can’t imagine this is the kind of production that the Penguins are looking for from their superstar. Is the loss of fellow countryman Sergei Gonchar affecting his game worse than we thought it would? I think we need only look at the Penguin power play to see the answer.
Malkin and Sidney Crosby seem to prefer making the perfect pass instead of making a play to score a goal. The power play has been an awful 0-26, and they haven’t scored a power play goal in six straight games. It ranks 26th in the league, which is completely inexcusable for a team that features two of the best offensive talents in the league on the unit.
It is certainly possible that Malkin is just uncomfortable on the wing and belongs back at his natural position of center, which we saw him return to in the game against Dallas. Perhaps a silver lining in the hand injury to Jordan Staal' is that Malkin will now return to a more comfortable position.
Regardless of what is bothering Geno, the Penguins desperately need him to get back on track, if they are going to go anywhere this season.
There's no reason to think this slump will continue all season, but while he's off his game, so are the Penguins.
I’ve seen him when he’s on top of his game, and he’s an unstoppable force.
Right now, he’s anything but.