Evgeni Malkin: Is the Pens’ Superstar Already a Hall of Famer?

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April 9, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) looks on from the bench against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Center. The Penguins defeated the Hurricanes 5-3. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Evgeni Malkin has been somewhat of an interesting case for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite an already unbelievable career that has featured numerous personal accolades as well as a Stanley Cup championship, Malkin as always been somewhat underrated due to the fact that he rides second fiddle to Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh.

Often passed over for consideration as the league’s best – not only in favour of Crosby but also players like Jonathan Toews, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, etc. – it must be asked: just how great is Malkin, in terms of the league’s history as a whole?

Has the Russian superstar already put together a Hall of Fame career, despite having yet to reach age 30?

A look at some of the recent greats inducted into the Hall of Fame suggests a resounding yes.

Let’s take a look.

The last five forwards inducted were Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg, Brendan ShanahanMats Sundin, and Joe Sakic – a list that few could disagree represent some of the best to have ever played the game.

What exactly drove these players to land in the hallowed Hall of Fame? It’s an ever-changing, partially inexplicable combination of factors.

The dominant level of play that comes with generational talent. The unconquerable will to win.

And, of course, a trophy case brimming with championships and personal awards.

Taking a closer look at the performances of these legendary players, Malkin’s achievements begin to shine brighter than one might expect.