Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has put up some crazy numbers throughout his 12-year NHL career, but it’s been a while since he’s had a season like this one. Despite his incredible campaign, he appears to be flying under the radar for a superstar.
The early portion of the season was all about Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, everyone is focused on Taylor Hall‘s 26-game point streak (rightfully so), but at no point has Malkin been at the center of the MVP conversation. That’s strange considering he has 38 goals and 84 points 64 games, which puts him just two points behind Kucherov for the Art Ross Trophy and just two goals behind Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Award. By the way, Malkin has played one game less than Kucherov and two games less than Ovechkin.
Of course, this isn’t the first time he’s been snubbed. As you recall, he was somehow omitted from last year’s 100 Greatest Players in NHL History list, which is as ridiculous now as it was then. There’s no doubt that playing with Sidney Crosby has helped him win championships, but it has clearly hindered him from getting the respect he deserves for the career that he’s put together.
Don’t get it twisted, Malkin is seen as an elite franchise player. It just seems like the story has gotten old and everyone is ready to move on to the next great thing. That’s understandable, it’s almost human nature to look for the next great story. After all, the Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cups, which is almost unheard of in professional sports. The same thing has happened in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors. The national attention seems to have dwindled because there’s a “been there, done that” feel to these teams that have had prolonged success. Well, we may need to put that theory on hold for a second.
Let’s compare Hall’s stats over his 26-game point streak to Malkin’s numbers during that same period of time. The Devils forward, who has been phenomenal during this stretch, has 38 points in 26 games. By today’s standards, those are remarkable offensive stats. He definitely needs to be in the running for the Hart Trophy with performances like that. But by comparison, Malkin, who has picked up at least one point in 21 of his last 26 games, has amassed 46 points during that span. The Pens forward also has seven multi-point efforts in his last 11 contests.