Malkin wants Reaves to score goals, not protect him

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The biggest move the Pittsburgh Penguins made over the summer was the decision to trade out of the first-round so they could acquire Ryan Reaves from the St. Louis Blues.

It was a pretty surprising move because the addition of Reaves seemed to run counter to the Penguins’ approach the past two seasons where they were a fast, skilled team and didn’t really have a player like Reaves on their roster. But they felt Reaves could offer some sort of protection for their stars, specifically centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. General manager Jim Rutherford said over the summer he was tired of his team getting beat up every game and did something to, in his mind, address that.

Will he be able to? That is certainly up for some level of debate, but his presence probably will not deter any cheap shots from opposing players.

It seems that Malkin wants something else from Reaves other than protection: He wants him to score goals because in Malkin’s words, he can protect himself.

Via NHL.com’s Wes Crosby:

Reaves has worked in recent years to improve his skating and is coming off of a 2016-17 season that saw him set new career highs in goals (seven) and total points (13). But even with that improvement it still seems unlikely that Reaves is going to be much of an offensive contributor. He has been an eight-minute per night player throughout his entire career, while his career highs a year ago were mostly due to the fact he simply appeared in more games (his goal, point per game averages were right in line with the rest of his career). Now that he is going to a team that is loaded with offensive talent it seems hard to imagine that he would get any sort of an increased role.