Evgeni Malkin To Remain At Right Wing For Now


Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin spent this past training camp and preseason recovering from an undisclosed injury. When he finally returned to pracitce, he did not resume playing his natural position.

Thus far, Malkin has spent his limited ice time, as usual, on the second line. But he has not been playing center, he has been playing right wing with center Brandon Sutter. Despite not playing as a center Evgeni Malkin has still remained productive. 

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Through the first two games Malkin has four points (1 G – 3 A) while only actually shooting the puck three times. Clearly, he is staying involved offensively but the big push this offseason was getting Evgeni Malkin to shoot the puck more.

When his good friend James Neal, was still with the Pittsburgh Penguins, often times Malkin would defer and let Neal shoot. This season Malkin is supposed to resume shooting the puck. Many people often forget that while the Malkin-Neal combination was lethal, Evgeni Malkin had some of his best seasons (in terms of point production) with relatively unknown linemates.

Part of the reason why Evgeni Malkin has been playing right wing was to ease him back into playing after returning from injury. The other reason why head coach Mike Johnston has him playing there is to experiment and find the spot where Malkin will shoot the most.

It seems as if the two game trial period is not enough of a sample yet.

Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. The Penguins could be trying to do what the Detroit Red Wings have done with Henrik Zetterberg. For much of his career Zetterberg has played as a center but also has seen a large amount of time at left wing.

Regardless of how long Evgeni Malkin plays as a right wing this season, it is encouraging that Johnston is experimenting with line combinations. Former coach Dan Bylsma was never one to experiment and try out new ideas.

Malkin should eventually move back to playing center but for right now he will continue to tear it up as a wing.