Florida Panthers: Denis Malgin is making a difference

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: Denis Malgin
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 11: Denis Malgin /

Few expected Denis Malgin, a fourth round pick in 2015, to have as much of an impact as he’s had during the 2017-2018 season. So far, he has been the kind of pleasant surprise the Panthers need out of their young team.

In his second year in the NHL, Denis Malgin is already well on his way to surpassing last year’s numbers. In just 16 games, the 20-year-old forward from Olten, Switzerland already has 5G, 1A, combining for 6 points all together.

One of those was a clutch game winning goal on the road against the Rangers back in November. Malgin seems to be heating up quickly, as all of his goals have come after Thanksgiving.

What’s making a difference in Malgin’s hot stretch is getting more shots on goal, and being given the opportunity to play top six minutes. In his 47 games last season, Denis attempted 102 shots with 67 going on goal (65.7%). This season, he put 20 out of 29 shots on goal (69%) in his first 14 games of work.

Also, Malgin has improved on the selection of his shot, as well as his accuracy. His shooting percentage has doubled from 9% last season to 20% this season. A lot of credit for this should go to the great puck distributors he gets to play with.

Malgin has shared ice time with players like Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Vincent Trocheck over the last 10 games. Head Coach Bob Boughner has rewarded Malgin’s spike in performance with more time on the ice.

Denis averaged 11:22 in ice time over the span of his short NHL career, but recently he’s logged 15 minutes against the Islanders, Jets, and Red Wings, while receiving 17:22 in the game against the Avalanche in Sunrise.

Unfortunately, Denis Malgin experienced a high hit early in the game against Chicago on December 12th. He missed the rest of the Chicago game, but managed to come back the next game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Luckily for the Panthers, they had five days off in between the Hawks and Vegas game, giving Malgin some time to heal and rest. But in his last two games against Vegas and Arizona respectfully, the youngster has recorded 2 points (1G and 1A). He’s also managed to tally 3 points in three consecutive games against the Islanders, Jets, and Avalanche, all of which would end up being goals.

Next: The unsuspected downfall of Radim Vrbata

A key to Malgin’s success will ultimately be: how long can the youngster continue to produce at a fairly consistent rate? Already, Denis has made a difference, and has taken advantage of the opportunities given to him. If he keeps it up, he’ll surely be a permanent player on this team.