In the early weeks of the regular season, Malkin
looked unbelievable, too. Picking up right where
he left off last year, Malkin was one of the NHL’s
top performers in October, finishing the season’s
opening month with 19 points (6G-13A), numbers
that placed him second in the NHL’s scoring race. He
was rewarded by receiving NHL Second Star of the
Highlighting how extraordinary Malkin’s play has
been over an extended period, that marked the third
time in four calendar months that No. 71 had earned
one of the NHL’s monthly Three Star awards. He was
the First Star for January of 2018, then the Second
Star the following month.
"I think the biggest difference this year is the
work he put in the summer," Penguins’ head coach
Mike Sullivan told NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger in
early November. "He obviously had more time than
usual during the offseason and he dedicated that
time to training.
"His fitness level is the best that it has ever been
in my tenure as coach here. That's really helped
him sustain his pace, game in and game out. He's
continuing to work at it in practice to sustain that
pace. It's a big credit to him to have such dedication
to his fitness in the summer."
Three Stanley Cup championships. Two regularseason
scoring titles. Two more playoff scoring
crowns. The 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as
NHL playoff MVP. A 2012 Hart Memorial Trophy as the
NHL’s regular-season MVP.
Evgeni Malkin has compiled quite an impressive
resume through his first 12-plus seasons in the
National Hockey League. And that’s just scratching
the surface of what Malkin has been able to
accomplish thus far.
Factor in Malkin’s 950 career points (as of
Nov. 13, 2018), his 2012 Ted Lindsay Award and his
2007 Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year, and
you have a legitimate case for a player who can
easily be considered among the best in the world
today. And also one of the NHL’s all-time greats.
Except, amazingly considering all that he has
accomplished, you can make a case that Malkin may
be the most underrated player in NHL history.
Why has Malkin’s sheer greatness at times gone
underappreciated? Hours could be spent breaking
down that topic. But here are three quick and
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