Image Property of Kim Smith
Season break down: The 2018-2019 season for Denis Malign was riddled with injuries and inconsistency. The young Panther forward regressed to his rookie totals and failed to make an impact on games like he did a season ago.
Malgin made the Panthers opening night roster, starting on the 3rd line. Jared McCann centered both he and Frank Vatrano. Malgin and McCann had played the previous season together and developed chemistry from the get go. During the late run, the McCann-Malgin pairing lead to 44 chances for and 29 chances against. This translated to 5 goals for and 2 against. As you can see, coming into the 2018-2019 season they were to be relied upon defensively and to play a speed, counter-attack style.
Denis started his 2018-2019 season slowly before recording assists in 3 consecutive games. However, he would be held pointless 8 of the next 10. Thatâ€™s how his season went on the score-sheet. Little spurts here and there. His impact on games was missing. Interesting fact, during the 2017-2018 season as seen on his bio, “Ten of his 11 goals either tied the game or gave the Florida Panthers the lead. His first goal came on Nov. 28, when he scored with 1:09 remaining in the third period to give the Panthers a 5-4 victory against the New York Rangers…”
With the addition of Mike Hoffman, and the emergence of Frank Vatrano, Malgin saw himself sitting on the outside of power-play time. He was extremely effective the season before and I personally laud him for his creativity, especially on this set play for Aaron Ekblad.
The play is simple, act like youâ€™re going to take a shot on goal, miss wide, bank it off the backboard and have Ekblad skate down to put it home. Teams, started planning for this set play and Malgin making the adjustment puts a shot on net (see Jets highlight):
Because of his inconsistency and the reliance on veteran players such as Troy Brouwer and Michael Haley, Bog Boughner scratched Malgin many times during the season. His role was clearly not defined anymore. Jared McCann had been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and his line mate Frank Vatrano was turning heads, getting ice time on the top two-lines. Malginâ€™s ice-time went from almost 14 minutes a night from the previous season to just 12.
Malgin suffered an injury on February 25th, which pretty much ended his season. He was able able to suit up for the final 4 games, putting up 2 assists and registering his only power-play point of the season. He finished the season with 7 goals, 9 assists and a -10.
The Grade: For the 2018-2019 season, I give Malgin a D. Inconsistent play and injuries are a quick way for a player to lose their spot on the roster. With this being his 3rd year with the big club, he clearly looked like he would benefit from time down in Springfield. But, with a fresh start under a new coaching staff, Malgin may get back to his 2017-2018 self and be a huge factor.
What he needs to work on this off-season:
- Confidence, the tale of two seasons show the impact Malgin can have on the Panthers. He can have a huge effect on games especially when they are in the balance.
- Consistency, he has the smarts and the ability to be an every game player but he needs to show that he can do it, game in and game out.
With Coach Q in the fold, I am not sure where Malgin might fit on next yearâ€™s roster. He was qualified this week so obviously the Panthers have a plan. The Panthers need to solidify their bottom 2 lines. They canâ€™t rely on the top 2 lines to carry them all season. This may mean that they go out and pick up veterans whom Q is familiar with to plug those holes. On the other end, younger players like Owen Tippett, and Serron Noel, and Juho Lammikko will be fighting for roster spots next season. If Malgin can get back to his 2017-2018 production, he will find himself on the opening night roster.
Thanks for reading. Please follow me on Twitter @prudentia0