Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin has had a great young career thus far. In 309 games he has scored 381 points. During the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup he was the Conn Smythe Award Winner.
There is talk now that the Russian center could move to wing.
“The first time I asked him how he felt about playing wing, he had the perfect response,” Penguins general manager Ray Shero told Kevin Allen of USA Today. “He said, “What does Coach think?’ … I thought it was great, because I think he wants to do what’s best for the team.”
Third line center Jordan Staal continues to improve and the Pens at least want to give him a chance at the second line center spot.
No one is saying if Malkin would be paired with Sidney Crosby or Jordan Staal however. Indications are that he would move to second line though given the lack of success and chemistry he and Crosby have had together. Staal who is much better at faceoffs helps the team defensively.
Prior to his retirement Mario Lemieux moved to wing to make room for Ron Francis. Both had similarities to Malkin and Staal. Mario lacked faceoffs ability like Malkin and Francis thrived in it like Staal.
“We know Malkin is a world-class center,” Shero said. “But the one thing we have said is that we can’t make plans for Malkin to play wing unless he buys into it.”
If the move to winger works an already explosive Penguins offense will surely be even better. The Pens are already an early favorite to win the east and this could further strengthen their case.