The Pittsburgh Penguins are set to get their other superstar center back in action. The team has announced that Evgeni Malkin has been activated from the injured reserve. The expectation is that Malkin will be ready to suit up when the Penguins face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Malkin has missed all but two games so far this season with an undisclosed leg injury and has just one point to show for the young campaign. The 33-year-old pivot’s 11-game absence has him on pace for a maximum 71 games this season, but it’s very likely that this will be another sub-70 game season for Malkin. Since 2012 he has only cracked the 70-game mark once, as injuries have been a consistent presence. In that one healthy season, Malkin recorded 98 points, the closest he has come to cracking 100 points as he did three times in his first six NHL seasons. Whereas his maximum point total in the other five seasons since 2012 has been 72 points. Malkin has still been one of the game’s more dominant offensive players for more than a decade now, but Penguins fans should probably temper their expectations of what to expect for the rest of the year from Malkin, who is likely in for another 70-odd point season at best.
With Malkin returning to the lineup, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Mike DeFabo writes that Dominik Kahun is the most likely candidate to take a seat. It’s amazing to think that the Penguins are now to the point that they are benching a capable, young trade acquisition when not long ago they were forced to play defenseman Juuso Riikola at forward due to an onslaught of injuries up front. Pittsburgh managed to go 7-4-0 without Malkin, while Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad, and Jared McCann were all among those who have missed time during that stretch as well. Back at full strength finally, the Penguins will face a tough decision each night as to who to play, with Kahun looking like the first casualty.