Penguins' Evgeni Malkin to Miss at Least 2 Months of Season After Knee Surgery

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2021

Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates his goal during the first period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders n Pittsburgh, Monday, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins were dealt a major blow Thursday, as it was announced that superstar center Evgeni Malkin will miss significant time during the 2021-22 NHL season.

According to Josh Yohe of The Athletic, Penguins general manager Ron Hextall said Malkin will miss at least the first two months of the season.

Malkin underwent knee surgery in June after initially suffering the injury in March.

The 35-year-old is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, seven-time All-Star, two-time Art Ross Trophy winner (most regular-season points) and has claimed the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year), Conn Smythe Trophy (Stanley Cup MVP), Hart Memorial Trophy (regular-season MVP) and Ted Lindsay Award (NHLPA's most outstanding player) one time each in his career.

Alongside Sidney Crosby, he has made the Penguins one of the most successful and feared teams in the NHL over the past 15 or so years. 

The Russian has scored over 100 points in three seasons and has hit 70 or more points 11 times in his career. 

But a right knee injury limited him to just 33 games in the 2020-21 season, and he was having something of a down year, scoring just eight goals and adding 20 assists. Scoring 28 points in 33 games wouldn't be an issue for most players, but it was just the second time in his career that Malkin's points didn't outnumber his games played. 

Nobody can play forever, and it's possible that Malkin's career is simply winding to a close. His latest injury might be another clue that's the case. 

In Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, the Penguins still have firepower. But there's little doubt that Malkin's scoring instincts and presence as the second-line center will be missed. 

Look for Jeff Carter to get bumped up to the second line in his place for at least the first two months of the campaign.