Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone will be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game on Monday when the Bolts host the Coyotes at the Times Forum — and, according to reports, he’s none too pleased about it.
#tblightning veteran wing Ryan Malone admits he’s not happy bout being healthy scratch four straight games, but will stay ready for his turn
— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) March 10, 2014
(Note: It’s the third game, not the fourth.)
Malone, 34, hasn’t played since a 4-2 loss to St. Louis on Mar. 4. That game was the last of a 12-game pointless streak that saw the veteran winger go minus-4 with diminished ice time (just over 10 minutes against the Blues.)
This season has not been kind to the former Penguin and U.S. Olympian. A big-bodied power forward (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), Malone missed 16 games with a foot injury and his production has suffered, scoring just five goals and 12 points in 46 games while averaging a career-low 12:22 TOI per game.
Compounding matters is Malone’s contract — a bloated seven-year, $31.5 million deal with a $4.5 million annual cap hit. It’s possible Malone could be a buyout candidate this summer, though it’s also possible Tampa Bay will have him play out the final season of his deal.