2013-14 Season in Review: Evgeni Malkin

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

We turn to the Penguins #2 center who is #1 in your heart.

Age: 27 (July 31, 1986)

Contract Status: Signed through 2021-22; $9.500,000 cap hit

2013-14 Stats

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

60

21:00

23

49

72

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

Quality of Comp. (TOI%)

Zone Start %

PDO

53.0% (5)

5.8% (5)

29.2% (5)

60.0% (2)

101.1% (4)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Penguins players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top nine defensemen or top 14 forwards.)

Most frequent forward linemates

Linemates

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time (863:50 for Malkin)

Jussi Jokinen

70.4%

55.4%

574:44

James Neal

65.9%

55.8%

448:21

Sidney Crosby

38.5%

57.6%

96:44

After a couple years of rotating left wingers, Evgeni Malkin found a productive and worthy winger in Jussi Jokinen. Their numbers up and down the board are tremendous and they, along with Neal, were the Pens most productive trio at even-strength.

Otherwise, Malkin performed about as expected- favorable zone starts and avoiding the top competition that the Crosby unit always gets, and he performed pretty well in shot based possession stats, which is to be expected given the earlier stats, and the fact that Malkin is a great offensive weapon.

And, interestingly, the famed "two-headed monster" wasn't all that successful with just a 38.5% goals for.

Brilliance, interrupted and disappointment in Sochi

Malkin started off the year slowly, by his lofty standards, scoring just 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 13 October games. November saw the return to form of Malkin the playmaker 25 points (4g, 21a) in 15 games, being named NHL player of the month. His shooting seemed off, but with his playmaking ability at levels not seen since the Gretzky/Lemieux days, it was all the same for the team. December started the same, Malkin scored 6 points (2g, 4a) in 4 games and was among Crosby in the NHL scoring race when he got hurt December 14th in Detroit and missed the next 9 games.

From there, all eyes where on Malkin and the Sochi Olympic Games, where one of Russia's favorite sons was under pressure to bring gold in the most important sport. At first, it looked great- Malkin and Alex Ovechkin (who almost never play together internationally) were united and each assisted on each others' first period goal in the first game. But neither would score again, and a punchless, frustrated Russia would lose 3-1 to Finland in the quarterfinals. Malkin would shoulder a lot of the blame for that, and despite playing well just couldn't find the back of the net.

Injury and Return

After Sochi, many wondered the mental state of Malkin, who took the loss understandably hard. After a few weeks of uneven play, Malkin scored 4 points in a game against Tampa and was up to 7th in the league in points (and 3rd in points/game) when he broke his foot in a game against St. Louis March 23rd, knocking him out for the remainder of the regular season.

Through the first five games of the Columbus series, Malkin only had a stat-line of 0 goals 4 assists, despite 14 shots on goal and several good chances. Then he would have his best performance of the season, scoring 3 goals in Game 6 to power the Pens to a series clinching win.

With Sidney Crosby not playing well, coach Dan Bylsma elected to shift Malkin up to more-or-less the full-time right winger. Malkin remained one of the Pens best forwards, scoring 3g, 4a in the seven game loss to the Rangers, but he couldn't get Crosby on the scoreboard. Malkin's last power play point was back in G6 vs Columbus as well, as the PP dried up on the Pens at the worst possible time.

And, just like that, the season was over...Except it wasn't, Malkin joined the Russian national team in Belarus and at least capped off his disjointed and disappointing season with at least a minor consolation prize: winning the World Championships.

GIF of the Year


Genocelebrationjump_medium

Malkin_medium

Malkin-jokinen_medium


Everything is a joy with Malkin. A wizard with the puck on his stick and a zest for like off the ice. Or as, TSN calls it, "The Summer of Geno".

Preseason expectations

Lofty expectations for Malkin, who carries the biggest cap hit on the team and one of the highest in the league. He needs to be among the league leaders in scoring, definitely a top points/game player in the league, help James Neal back to the 35-40 goal range, drive the power play, keep penalties down and help the Pens deep in the playoffs.

Verdict

Overall, when Malkin played, he generally was one of the best- if not the best- player on the ice, and that ice includes no less than Crosby. A couple of interruptions hurt, to injuries, but Malkin escaped serious injury and was able to be one of the Pens top players in the playoffs. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't score enough in the Olympics or the NHL playoffs to get his teams to the ultimate prize. There's always next year, but Malkin is already turning 28 this summer. His scoring prime won't last forever.

***

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Evgeni Malkin's season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".

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