In this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday, we shake it up a bit and go to the NHL. The subject of this week is for Pittsburgh Penguins winger Ryan Malone. He was born and bred in Pittsburgh, where coincidentally, his father Greg Malone played for the Penguins from 1976-83.
The Penguins drafted Malone in the fourth round and 115th overall. Malone played for the Penguins full time in 2003, making him the first player from Pittsburgh to represent the franchise. He appeared in 81 games and scored 22 goals and 21 assists, totaling 43 points; third on the team in scoring. Malone finished fifth in that years rookie voting.
Malone did not play for the Penguins again until the 2005-06 season, due to the lockout in the 2004-05 season. In 2005, Malone again showed his consistency, scoring 22 goals and dishing 22 assists. What made his 2005 campaign special was the penalty kill notching himself a team-leading five shorthanded goals; third in the NHL.
The 2006-07 season was the year of odd records for Malone. On December 15th, 2006, Malone scored his first career hat-trick. He was apart of the second father-son duo to score hat tricks for the same team.
On February 19th, 2007, he scored a hat-trick, but each of the three goals were scored within the first minute of each period for the first time in NHL history.
Outside of the odd records, Malone did not fare as well that season. In fact, it was his worst season in terms of points scored as a Penguin, albeit injury hampered. Malone played 64 games, earning 31 points on 16 goals and 15 assists. He managed to have a positive plus-minus at +4; one of only three seasons he finished on the positive side.
In 2007-08, Malone’s last season with the Penguins, he finished with his best career year. He totaled a career-high in goals (27), and also had 24 assists. Malone once again finished with a positive plus-minus, ending with a career-best +14. To add on to his odd Penguins tenure, he also finished with a career-high in penalty minutes (103). During the four years Malone spent with the Penguins, he amassed 87 goals and 82 assists.
Malone proceeded to play for Tampa Bay for six years, where his consistency saw him continue to average roughly 40 points annually. He did, however, face legal issues in 2014. Malone was arrested for a DUI and cocaine possession. In the end, the Lightning bought out his contract, and he was free to go to another team.
Malone signed with the New York Rangers in 2014, where he only saw six games. His last NHL game took place on November 3rd, 2014, where he only saw seven minutes of ice time and recorded one shot on goal. Father Time caught up to Malone, and he retired in 2017.
Although Malone wasn’t the purest scorer or passer, he did a lot of the small aspects that every NHL team needs to have done. His passion for the game and his strong will has always marveled fans, but as I said before, he wasn’t the fanciest. Instead, he was one of the toughest.
Photo Credit- Grant Halverson, Getty Images