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Evgeni Malkin Has Torn Knee Ligaments, Likely Done For Season

An MRI on Evgeni Malkin's knee revealed extensive ligament damage on Saturday morning, according to Penguins' head coach Dan Bylsma:

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"Evgeni Malkin had an MRI [Saturday] morning," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told the team's website. "The results show that he has a torn MCL and ACL. At this point in time we are discussing options with the doctors on what to do next.

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"This is a difficult injury for him. It was kind of a fluke situation going into the boards with a guy. That's a tough injury for Geno. We have dealt with games without him. We've managed to find our way without him. That's what we're going to have to look at now.

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Tearing both the ACL and the MCL is just about as bad of a ligament injury as you someone can possibly have in a knee, and Malkin will almost assuredly need surgery. The timetable for his recovery is likely to extend into next preseason.

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With Malkin out, the Penguins should free up some cap room for the remainder of the season, similar to how the Penguins currently have some "bona fide long-term injury" cap space due to the length of Sidney Crosby's injury. However, when Crosby returns, that space will disappear. With Malkin likely finished for the season, that emergency cap space should remain.

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As nhlscap.com explains:

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For players that the team has filed an LTI [Long Term Injury] exception, the team is allowed to exceed the cap by up to the amount of the injured player's salary with as many replacement players as needed, provided that when the injured player is activated the team comes into compliance with the cap immediately.  The team does not get to automatically tack on the amount of the injured player's salary to the Upper Limit.

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So, if a player were to come in to replace Malkin and Malkin eventually returned this season, the Pens' would need to shed cap space to keep him. With Malkin out for the year, however, that will not be an issue. Now, the Penguins are suddenly players during the trade deadline, hoping to fill out the sudden glut of cap room left behind by Malkin's $8.7 million contract.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.