NHL History: 30 best players in the 21st century (Updated 2023)

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Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

30 best NHL players of the 21st century: 12. Evgeni Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins obviously have two amazing centers that have led them beyond the Mario Lemieux era and into their next era of greatness. Evgeni Malkin has been a player who many have predicted will be moved, but his career in Pittsburgh has been one of the best. He’s already the third-best Russian scorer of all time.

When that other Penguins center was out with injury, Malkin was one of the best players in the league. He won the Hart Trophy in 2012. He scored 109 points in 75 games that season. He showed that he could easily be the best player on a team, and he deserved to be considered one of the best in the world.

He’s averaging just under 1.2 points per game over his career. He’s been a beacon of consistency. He’s been in the league for over 17 seasons and has scored over 1,200 points. There are some issues with how people look at Malkin’s career. Some might say he’s had “motivation issues.” Still, when he was looking to send a message, he can be the best in the league.

It’s interesting to imagine what he would do on another team, but his career with the Penguins was still one of the best in the world. He could take over a game by himself, and his size, strength, and skill combination are almost impossible to find in today’s game.