Penguins center Evgeni Malkin returned to practice on Friday with a non-contact jersey as he continues to work his way back from a lower-body injury that’s believed to be a knee issue, notes Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The veteran has been out since mid-March and is currently on LTIR. If he’s able to return between now and the end of the regular season, Pittsburgh will need to clear just over $2.6MM off their books to get cap compliant before he can be activated. Injuries have limited the 34-year-old to just 29 games this season and he hasn’t been as productive as usual with eight goals and 16 assists in those contests.
More from the East Division:
- Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler has been placed in COVID protocol, the team announced (Twitter link). New Jersey acquired the 23-year-old earlier this month and had given him a bigger role as Siegenthaler has averaged 17:10 per game in six contests with the Devils after logging just 13:23 per game in seven matches with Washington. Colton White was recalled to take Siegenthaler’s place in the lineup.
- The Rangers were among the teams that showed considerable interest in Zdeno Chara last offseason, reports Larry Brooks of the New York Post. The 43-year-old was eyed as a mentor to what has become a very young back end with five rearguards aged 23 or younger suiting up against Philadelphia earlier in the week. However, Chara opted to sign with Washington in the hopes of a long playoff run. New York is likely going to have a similar desire to add a veteran for next year as well but they may be better served going after someone that can play a bit higher in the lineup.
- The Capitals will be keeping their AHL coaching staff around for the foreseeable future as the team announced recently that head coach Spencer Carbery, assistant coach Patrick Wellar, and associate goalie coach Alex Westlund have all signed multi-year contract extensions. Carbery is in his third season at the helm with Hershey with the Bears posting a .702 points percentage over that span. Hershey has a 16-5-2 record this season to lead the seven-team North Division in points with 34.