Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin out at least first two months of 2021-22 NHL season

Evgenimalkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins' center, will be out of action for at least two months in the 2021-22 NHL season while he recovers after knee surgery. General manager Ron Hextall announced this on Thursday.
Pittsburgh will start its season without its two most important stars. Captain Sidney Crosby, who is still recovering from wrist surgery he had on Sept. 8, is out of Pittsburgh.

Malkin, 35, is entering his 16th NHL season. He also has the final year of a $76 million eight-year deal that he signed in 2013. This deal pays Malkin $9.5 million each year. Hextall stated on Thursday that no progress has been made in extending Malkin's contract. He would be an unrestricted, free agent for the summer 2022.

Malkin averaged a point per match last season, before he was hurt in a collision on March 16 with Jarred Tinordi, a Bruins defenseman. Malkin was out of action for the final six weeks and the first two playoff games. After the Penguins' June defeat, Malkin returned to the center for four playoff games. He then had knee surgery.

Crosby, who is 34 years old, has a contract through 2024-25. Crosby is expected to be back sooner than Malkin as his initial timeline for surgery was six weeks. He was also skating on his own before the Penguins' training camp which opened this week.

Hextall stated that Sid has been skating almost every day. He's not handling it. He is one-handing it. Everything is going well. He's skating hard. He is following the timeframe that we provided, which was minimum six weeks.

The Penguins purchased Jeff Carter, 36, from the Kings last season. He will likely be promoted to top-line center with Crosby & Malkin out.

Hextall stated, "We're against it; it is something we all know." "We will have some guys who will be able to show us things they wouldn't otherwise. We need more men to step up. It was evident from the chemistry in our group last year that there is a positive vibe this year. We all know that we are up against it. "I think our men are up for the challenge."

The Penguins have never made it to the second round of playoffs since winning back-toback Stanley Cups in 2016/2017. The New York Islanders eliminated Pittsburgh in six games last season.

Malkin has scored 424 goals, 680 assists and 940 points in his career with Pittsburgh.