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

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A Strong Case Already

So what are Malkin’s chances at a Hall of Fame bid?

Even if he retired today, it appears the Russian would already be a sure bet. He’s already amassed a legacy worthy of historic recognition, as seen by the fact that he’s already done things that players hailed as some of the sport’s best – like Modano and Forsberg and Shanahan – have never done.

May 4, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) on the ice against the New York Rangers during the first period in game two of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Combine that with the fact that, barring injury, Geno has at least a decade of hockey left in him (or more if he pulls a Jagr) and it’s hard to argue against the possibility of Malkin being called to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.

While riding shotgun as a Penguin, with Crosby in the driver’s seat, certainly has its advantages – the two have become the most prolific scoring duo in modern NHL history – it has simultaneously left Malkin without some of the league-wide respect owed to him.

On any other team in the league, Geno would be a franchise player. That includes Washington, Chicago, and Tampa Bay.

If not for the presence of Crosby’s own generational talent, Malkin could present a very strong case as the best of his generation. Ovechkin could certainly make a case of his own – but winning Rocket Richard trophies means little when your club never makes it past the second round.

Regardless of whether Malkin is the second-best of his generation or third-best, he remains one of the greatest players to have ever suited up for the National Hockey League.

No matter what the rest of his career holds, it’s clear Evgeni Malkin has already cemented his place as one of the game’s best, and will undoubtedly be called to the Hall of Fame when his career does finally reach its close.