The hits just keep on coming for the Pens. Pittsburgh Penguins' star center Evgeni Malkin has a torn MCL and ACL and is likely out for the season. Although some are saying that he may return, it looks like this just ended Malkin's season. Malkin and the Pens will look for a second option to try and avoid a season-ending surgery.
This year was already starting to be a forgotten year for Malkin. Malkin had already missed ten games this season and was underachieving drastically by his standards in the points department. In 43 games played, Malkin had just 15 goals and 37 points for the year. He was projected to have 67 points in 67 games.
That's just not going to cut it. Malkin is one of the highest paid players in the league, making $8.7 million a year. Now we can say that Malkin's year is a total bust.
If there's any possible silver lining, it's that the Pens now have cap savings from Malkin's $8.7 million eventually coming off the books. With that space, they can try to find some offensive help before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.
There are already rumors about the Pens going after Jason Arnott of the New Jersey Devils. Arnott's contract is up after this year and the Devils should be out of the playoff hunt by the trade deadline. I say shoot for the stars and go after Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets and/or Jarome Igninla of the Calgary Flames.
Also we'll also be able to see a lot more of Jordan Staal. The Pens will look to Staal to produce more offensively and center the second line for the rest of the season. Staal had eight points in 14 games since he's been back in the lineup.
I also expect everyone to become real antsy about Sidney Crosby's return. Crosby has missed the last 12 games with a concussion and there really hasn't been any good news about his return being any time soon.
How long can the Pens stay afloat without Malkin and Crosby? It's going to be interesting to say the least. A lot of players are going to have to step up. Staal being the most important player that has to step up.
I think we also have to ask ourselves this question. "Should the Penguins shop Malkin after this year?" I'm just saying see what your oppurtunities are. What if you get a deal that you can't pass up? Malkin is a great player, but the Pens have a lot of depth, the best player in the world and could possibly get a first line winger and another top six forward for Malkin, and maybe even more.
I think this rational will be given much more serious consideration if the Pens go on to succeed without Malkin.