Photo: Caroline O’Connor/Great Save Productions/Hershey Bears
Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Beck Malenstyn, forward for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Malenstyn, 22, is a 6’-2” left-handed winger who has spent the last two seasons with the Hershey Bears in the AHL. The White Rock, British Columbia native was a 5th round draft pick (#145 overall) by the Capitals in the 2016 NHL entry draft. Malenstyn signed a three-year entry-level contract with Washington on April 10, 2017, for $736,666 AAV. Malenstyn will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2020-2021 season.
Malenstyn spent parts of five seasons in the WHL, most with the Calgary Hitman, before being traded to the Swift Current Broncos during his last year in the league.
Malenstyn’s top scoring season occurred during the 2016-2017 season with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, where he registered 32 goals and 24 assists in 70 games played.
Malenstyn was traded from Calgary to Swift Current just four games into the 2017-2018 season. The move would ultimately pay huge dividends, as Malenstyn and the Broncos would win the WHL championship and hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Malenstyn finished the season with 17 goals and 15 assists in 42 games played in the regular season. Malenstyn added another four goals and 11 assits in postseason play.
Malenstyn showed excellent developmental progress during his first year in the AHL. It could be argued that he made the biggest advance of all Capitals prospects during the 2018-2019 season. He quickly found his place, providing a physical grit for the Bears, and often set the tone early in games with a heavy hit or two. Malenstyn also showed potential for being a team leader. He finished the season with seven goals and nine assists in 74 games played.
Malenstyn was on pace for significant improvement in his points production prior to the suspension of the 2019-2020 Season. He recorded seven goals and eight assists in just 46 games played. His shooting percentage also improved from 7.6% in his rookie campaign to 10.9% for his sophomore year, but his shots-per-game rate essentially remained the same. Malenstyn continued to be a key component of the Bears penalty kill, as well as a reliable shot-blocker for the Bears. He would miss three games for a suspension and 10 games due to injury during the 2019-2020 season. Malenstyn was also called up to the Capitals for three games in November.
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2019-2020 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following month-by-month breakdown is an aggregation of our monthly prospect reports prepared during the 2019-2020 season. You can find all of our weekly and monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Malenstyn carved a niche in the lineup last season with his strong penalty killing and shot blocking. He has continued to contribute in those areas this season and he brings energy every night. The Delta, British Columbia native has spent most of the young season on a line with Brian Pinho and Jonsson-Fjallby and the line combination has been a success. Malenstyn has two goals (one coming while shorthanded), and two assists on the season thus far. He is on pace to surpass both his seven-goal total from last season, as well as his 16-points total. Malenstyn has improved to become more of an all-around player and not just a defensive forward.
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The second-year winger netted his third goal of the season on November 3 in a 4-2 Hershey win over the Syracuse Crunch. The second period tally was his first game-winning goal of the season. The Delta, British Columbia native added an assist for two points in nine games played for the month. Malenstyn teamed with Brian Pinho to form the top forward duo on the penalty kill. On November 20, Malenstyn received his first callup to the NHL and made his debut for the Washington Capitals against the New York Rangers that night. He played in three games for the Capitals, which included minutes on the penalty kill, before returning to Hershey. Malenstyn’s level of play with the Capitals opened the eyes of many not familiar with Malenstyn. Capitals Head Coach Reirden was impressed by Malenstyn during this fall’s training camp, which is often considered the golden key. Look for him to make a return trip to Washington at some point this season. In the meantime, he is sorely needed in Hershey, and will instantly improve the Bears’ penalty kill and shot blocking.
Malenstyn played only three games in December. He was injured late in the third period against Lehigh Valley on December 7, as he took an elbow up high and fell awkwardly into the boards, and has not played since. Prior to being injured, he made a diving back check with 7:45 remaining in the game to break up a Lehigh Valley scoring chance and preserve Hershey’s 1-0 lead. The second-year winger tallied a goal against Hartford on December 1 for his only point of the month. For the season, Malenstyn has scored three goals and four assists in 21 games played. He’s registered 34 shots for a shooting percentage of 11.8% on the season.
Malenstyn returned from an upper body injury on January 8 after being out since December 7. He netted two goals and dished out two assists in the month. The Delta, British Columbia native scored the game-winning goal with 3:20 remaining in the third period against Cleveland on January 11 on a tip-in goal. Malenstyn continues to do the little things. On January 19, Malenstyn laid out to block a shot with just over remaining in the game with the Bears up 4-0. He also jumped right back into his role as a top penalty killer. He is usually paired with Brian Pinho on the penalty kill unit and the duo is often the first over the boards when Hershey goes shorthanded. He broke up a play with his hand on a penalty kill against Cleveland on January 11. For the season, Malenstyn has six goals and five assists in 33 games played.
Malenstyn posted four points in February to run his season point total to 15, one off his total from last year. He registered his first two-point game of the season in a 5-3 Hershey win over Lehigh Valley on February 16. His goal in the third period was the game winner and he added an assist on Brian Pinho’s empty-net goal. On the season, Malenstyn has seven goals, with three of them game-winning goals. On the other end of the ice, the Delta, British Columbia remains one of Hershey’s top penalty killers. He, along with Pinho, are usually the first forwards over the boards in shorthanded situations. Malenstyn also continues to bring a physical presence to the ice. Unfortunately for the winger, he left the game on February 29 with an injury after taking a slash to the wrist/hand.
Malenstyn continued positive development offensively during the 2019-2020 season, but still needs to continue improving in this area. His role is not to be a primary scorer, but to drive his line, and that needs to continue to improve as well.
Malenstyn is savvy in the offensive zone, but just needs to improve on finishing with the shot. He played predominantly on the left side, but did see time on the right side, and on all four lines.
Maybe Malenstyn’s biggest asset to the Bears are his contributions to the penalty kill. His shot blocking continues to be outstanding. Hershey head coach Spencer Carbery commented on Malenstyn’s shot blocking in a pre-game interview with Bears radio broadcaster Zack Fisch on January 23, 2018. Carbery said, “Beck Malenstyn is one of the best shot blockers that I’ve seen.”
Malenstyn will likely spend most of the 2020-2021 season in Hershey, developing his offensive game. However, he could see another call-up to the Capitals during the season, and has an outside shot at a bottom six spot in the near future. He will also need to take-on a bigger leadership role this season for the Bears, particularly if Liam O’Brien is lost to free agency.
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By Jon Sorensen