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UFA Option: Ryan Malone

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Every time someone suggests that the Oilers sign Ryan Malone, I get a little worried, because I think whoever signs him is going to massively overpay. Pro-rating for an 82-game schedule, Malone has scored at a 22-, 23- and 21- goal pace. This season, he was on pace for 29. In terms of shooting percentage, Malone has generally done very well, averaging 15.8%, 14.4% and 12.8% before jumping to 17% this past season. He has also consistently played with good linemates, generally playing with either Crosby or Malkin.

Balanced against this is the fact that Malone is a very good player. Behind the Net has him playing the second toughest opposition among Penguins forwards (behind Malkin) and his team outscored the opposition 3.65 to 2.73 per game when he was on the ice.

In addition to the 13:17 of even-strength ice-time that Malone averaged, he added 2:44 SH and 3:02 PP. Malone was gold on an excellent powerplay, averaging 2.86 goals/60 minutes all by himself, and the team performed at an 8.31 GFON/60 with Malone. Shorthanded, Malone was the worst Penguin forward, with a 1.21 GFON/60 vs. a 7.54 GAON/60, although in fairness none of the players used were particularly good.

Malone had 138 hits and 34 blocked shots. The hits total would have led the Oilers, while he would have finished 5th in blocked shots. Behind the Net also tells us that Malone took an average of 0.9 penalties per game, while drawing 1.6. Finally, Malone had 9 fighting majors.

I like Malone, who contributes a lot both 5-on-5 and 5-on-4. I don't think there's any doubt that he is a player of interest to the Oilers. That said, the price that the team would have to pay to acquire him is probably going to be north of 4.5M/yr, and to be honest, I really don't think he's worth it. Malone is a 22-goal, 45-point player who can line up against tough opposition and adds a physical presence. He isn't really a scorer, except for his 2-3 minutes a game on the powerplay.