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Penguins, Malkin Still Focused on Winning While They Can

Evgeni Malkin has extra motivation to win another Stanley Cup.

As long as the Pittsburgh Penguins have the ‘big three’ — Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang — they are still capable of winning. However, as each season passes the chances of them winning another championship slowly diminishes. The reason is simple — age. At 34, Malkin is the elder statesman of the trio (by a year), but he still believes the team is capable of winning.

Related: Crosby, Ovechkin, and Marleau All Set to Make NHL History

Malkin’s Hunger to Win

During an interview with Wes Crosby of NHL.com, Malkin discussed he and the team’s mindset as they enter the 2020-21 season. Speaking on behalf of the entire Penguin team, he said “We talk a lot together. We’re still hungry.”

As a proud Russian, Malkin has extra motivation to win another Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh. The native of Magnitogorsk is currently tied with Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov for most Cup wins by a Russian player with a total of three. To add a fourth championship would obviously mean a lot and he emphasized that by saying, “That is my motivation right now.”

Members of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrating a goal

Malkin’s Time in Pittsburgh

Since being drafted 2nd overall by the Penguins in 2004, Malkin has had an amazing career in Pittsburgh. The motivation to win another Stanley Cup is one thing, but it would only be the proverbial icing on the cake of what is surely hall of fame career.

During his 14 seasons in Pittsburgh, the hulking centre has easily played at well over a point per game pace amassing 416 goals and 660 assists during 907 NHL career games. Other career accomplishments include the 2007 Calder Memorial Trophy, two-time Art Ross winner (2009, 2012), as well as a Conn Smythe (2009), Hart and Ted Lindsay (2012) trophy winner. Nothing short of brilliance.

Stanley Cup Odds

For Malkin, there may come a time when he must decide whether a fourth Stanley Cup is feasible in Pittsburgh, or elsewhere. According to BetRivers.com, the Penguins are +2100 to win the 2021 championship. Compare that with the favorites – Colorado Avalanche (+650), Tampa Bay Lightning (+750), Vegas Golden Knights (+800) – and Pittsburgh still has a fighting chance. They also have an extremely difficult, but temporary East division to contend with.

Again, as the seasons pass, I would predict that the Penguins odds of winning become less year over year. That said, Malkin has at least two more seasons to capture another Cup in Pittsburgh as his current contract ($9.5 million AAV) will expire in 2022-23. Could he be traded before then? Maybe, but it would take more than a little stick handling to find that kind of cap room on a contending team.

No matter what the future might hold for Malkin it would be silly to write him off. Sure he can take a few nights off, but if you have seen him in person then you know that he is capable of being an impactful player when he wants too.

NEXT: Crosby, Ovechkin, and Marleau All Set to Make NHL History

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