Malhotra will focus on faceoffs as development coach with Canucks

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Manny Malhotra won 56 per cent of the faceoffs he took during his NHL career, and he’ll now bring that expertise back to the Vancouver Canucks, this time in a coach’s role.

The Canucks have announced that Malhotra has rejoined the organization as a development coach. His responsibilities will include working with players in the faceoff circle, an area the club struggled in last season. In fact, the Canucks, had the worst faceoff winning percentage in the entire league.

“A lot of my role has to do with the development of the young centermen,” Malhotra told Canucks.com.

“Obviously statistically we weren’t that good in the circle last year, so that number has to come up if we want to improve in the standings. Working with the young guys, working with the centermen, teaching them systems and just trying to help out in any way possible is what my role will be.”

Malhotra signed with the Canucks prior to the 2010-11 season, when they went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. But his season — and ultimately his playing career — was interrupted by a devastating eye injury after he was hit in the face by a puck late in the campaign.

After an incredible comeback, he did make it back into the lineup during the Stanley Cup Final, and played 78 games the following year for the Canucks. But during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, the Canucks put Malhotra on the injured reserve list, ending his season, with Mike Gillis, the team’s GM at the time, saying the decision was for the long-term health of the popular forward.

Malhotra eventually went on to play in Carolina and Montreal, finishing his NHL career with 991 regular season games played.