April 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) skates against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period in game three of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Arena. The Flyers defeated the Penguins, 8-4. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

Pittsburgh Penguins Draft...Evgeni Malkin #1 In 2004

In 2004, the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted a young talented Russian named Evgeni Malkin.   He did not start for the Penguins till 2006-2007 season because they could not get him out of Russia.   He was still under contract in his home country, though he did want to come to American to play.    Finally, after some evasive maneuvers the Penguins were able to “Sneak” him out of Russia and as they say, “The Rest Is History”.

Malkin has played his entire NHL career thus far with the Penguins, though his contract is up next season so many are in a wait and see mode as Malkin has become one of the top 2 or 3 players in the “World”.     Not the league, the World and that is significant for sure.

So far in just 6 seasons, he has ammassed over 500 points in just 427 games not including the playoffs.    He has over 300 goals and has become prolific with the slap shot.     He just pounds the puck past the Goal Tenders, which has become a bit of a trade mark for him.     As a center, he has gained a winger in James Neal that has helped solidify Evgeni as not just a goal scorer, but a play maker.

There is a down side to this Russian Giant though.    He does have a tendency to disappear from time to time as far as scoring.     He scores goals in bunches, then can go on hiatus for a week or 2 and sometimes this happens during the playoff,s which has been most unfortunate, and has become a very difficult stigma for him to overcome.    He plays all year around including for his home country in the World Championships, and in my mind, this plays a part in his disappearing acts.

I honestly think he gets tired.    Not tired of playing, but he runs out of gas from time to time.    The NHL season is a long season, then throw in the playoffs, and it is brutal.    The Season Starts in October and Ends in June if your team is fortunate enough to go that far.     If your team does not make the Playoffs, it is over in May which ends up being 7 months and by all accounts, way too long also.

Malkin has won 1 Stanley Cup, been to the Finals twice.     He won the Calder Trophy, The Art Ross, and the Conn Smythe Trophy.     Moral of the story is, he has plenty of hardware.     Not to mention, his Russian National Team won the Worlds this year and he won the MVP of the Tournament.   During the same season, he had already won another Art Ross, and could also win the Hart Trophy.     Malkin is a very talented player and one  the Penguins need to sign long term.

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