Gifted Russian hockey player Evgeni Malkin wanted to play in the National Hockey League from a young age and was elated to be drafted second overall in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, behind fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin. Malkin's home Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk, however, had no intention of releasing their most prized asset, effectively negating Malkin's NHL contract with the Penguins. So what did Malkin do? The six foot three inch, 195 pound center skipped out on his Metallurg team during a training camp in Finland to head for the United States and his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Evgeni Malkin was born on July 31, 1986 in Magnitgorsk, Russia to Vladimir and Natalia Malkin. His father, Vladimir, was a defenseman for Metallur Magnitogorsk hockey team. His brother, Denis, was also in Metallurg's hockey system.
Best Known For:
First professional ice hockey player since 1917-18 to score goals in each of his first six NHL games
Professional Hockey Career:
In Russia, Evgeni Malkin was named top forward and MVP of the 2006 World Junior Hockey Tournament for the silver medal winning Russian team. Just a few months later, Malkin helped the senior Russian hockey team to a fourth place finish in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, with 6 points scored in 7 games. Evgeni Malkin also played at the IIHF World Hockey Championships the same year. In his 2005-2006 season with Magnitogorsk, he scored 21 goals and had 26 assists for a total of 47 points, and led the team to a Russian Super League regular-season championship
After missing his first three games with the Pittsburgh Penguins because of a pre-season collision with fellow teammate John Leclair, #71 Evgeni Malkin broke the rookie team record as well as the modern NHL record for a rookie with 7 goals in his first 6 NHL games. His outstanding performance won him the Calder Trophy at the 2007 NHL Awards.
Continuing a tradition instituted by former Penguins' coach Eddie Johnston, of rookie players living with older teammates in their first season in Pittsburgh, Evgeni lives at the home of fellow Russian teammate Sergei Gonchar, choosing to stay on after his rookie season.