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Pensburgh wrapup: Evgeni Malkin

"Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities." – Oscar Wilde

Season Stats:

G A P +/- PIM
2009 - Evgeni Malkin 28 49 77 -6 100

Playoff Stats

G A P +/- PIM
2009 - Evgeni Malkin 5 6
11 0

Month by Month Pensburgh Grades:
October: B+
November: A
December: B
January: B
February: A-
March: B-
April: C+

Contract status: Signed through 2013/14 with a cap hit of $8.7 million.  Becomes an UFA in 2014.

Interesting stat: In 2009 Geno played all 82 games and registered more than one point in 32 of them.  In 2010, having missed 15 games to a shoulder injury, Malkin registered 22 multi-point efforts over the span of 67 games.

The Good: Geno averaged 1.15 points per game in 2010, which really isn't far off from his 2009 average of 1.38.  When you consider the early-season should injury that kept him down early, Malkin pretty much did all that was expected of him, and maybe even beyond.  You really have to consider a lot of things beyond even the injury.  For example, coming back in the middle of the season from an injury is no easy task for any athlete.  Players always talk about finding a rhythm early on and maintaining it throughout the year.  An injury puts a damper on that and can really throw off a guys game, even when his body is back to 100%.  Conditioning is also a factor to consider.  Sure, it was a shoulder injury, and chances are Geno was riding the bike and keeping his cardio on track, but does that really translate to game conditioning?  Hardly.

I don't remember many people speculating an injury or problem early in the year, but his foul goals over the span of 12 games should've been an indication that something was up.  To his credit, and more so to the relief of fans, he pocketed three assists.  After one scoreless game against the Ducks on November 16, Geno went on a six-game tear that included four goals and four assists.  It wasn't until the final game of the season against the Islanders that we saw Malkin hit his season-high four point game (2g, 2a).  Things looked like they were on the right track heading into the playoffs.  Sadly, despite his 11 points in 13 games, we all now how that ended.

The Not-So-Good: Geno was third on the team in PIM with an even 100, behind only perennial tough/mix-up guys Matt Cooke (106) and Mike Rupp (120).  What good is a scorer when he sits in the box?  This was easily the most frustrating aspect of Malkin's game during the 2009-10 season.  There's no real way to translate those PIM to points, but we could provide a little case study of sorts.  If you take each game of the playoffs and round up or down to the closest minute (depending on under or over the 30 second mark), then Geno averaged close to 22 minutes per game.  Now if you figure he scored 11 points over 13 games, that comes out to .85 ppg.  So if we can conclude that every 22 minutes Geno tallied .85 ppg, then we can apply that to his PIM.  So, with that said, for every 22 minutes of play Geno was scoring .85 ppg.  Divide 100 by 22, times it by .85 and Geno missed out on close to four points on the season (3.86).  Waste of time?  Yeah, I agree.  But I started with the idea and had to finish it.

The other aspect of Geno's game that doesn't necessarily translate to paper is his presence on the ice.  I know it wasn't just me, based on game thread comments, that noticed Malkin was lagging a bit out there.  Exhaustion?  Injury?  Who knows.  But he sure didn't possess the same fire he had in 2009 when he just completely dismantled the other team's defense.

Final Verdict: Malkin played just fine given the circumstances that he faced in 2010.  As the Oscar Wilde quote hints, those below his level of talent felt justified by saying things about how he tanked on the season, dogged it for the second half of the season or will never win another scoring title again.  The real final verdict on his 2010 performance will come in 2011.

Question and Discussion: Do you have faith that Geno's play in 2010-11 will return to the level that netted him the Art Ross Trophy last season?  Furthermore, are you at all worried about his 2009-10 performance?