Beck Malenstyn’s development trajectory had been tracking fairly well in previous seasons. By the 2019-20 season, his solid work in Hershey led to three games with the Capitals. All signs were pointing to the 2020-21 season as Malenstyn’s breakthrough year. Then he suffered a torn Achilles during a normal, everyday workout last fall.
”We were just doing shuttle sprints in the gym. A regular day activity for me that unfortunately, just went wrong,” Malenstyn said. “Just a freak accident.”
Malenstyn battled back. After a six-month hiatus from the ice, the 23-year-old began to slowly work his way back. Day by day, he worked himself into condition and then playing shape. By the time Capitals training camp rolled around, the 6’-2” forward was ready to fight for a roster spot.
”I think it was probably about six to seven months of no gear. So, a long time. When I was first able to kind of step back on the ice, it was kind of a learn to skate for a little bit. I was going out in a track suit and then slowly back into gear, and then slowly back into practice. It was definely the longest time I’ve spent out of equipment, but definitely happy to be back in it now.”
Malenstyn has put the injury behind him. He entered camp with no expectations for himself, and tried to limit the pressures related to trying to make the team.
”Throughout the whole camp, the whole preseason, I was trying to put as little pressure on myself as possible. Like I said, I came in here with no expectations on myself, not knowing how it was gonna go. As I kinda went through those preseason games, my confidence started to get a little bit higher and a little bit higher. Going into that last one, I just wanted to leave it all on the ice. I didn’t want to leave any questions on the board about me. I was just gonna go out there and play my game. I was fortunate enough to feel like the line I was on really supported me, in a great way, really took me under their wing, made it real easy to go out there and play a stress-free game.”
News came on Tuesday that Malenstyn had made it all the way back when he was named to the Capitals 23-man roster for opening night.
“It was obviously something I worked really hard towards, so it was kind of a nice validation to a lot of hard work put in to a summer full of rehab. I’m really happy to be here, just gonna take it day by day.”
Malenstyn admits it was a difficult road back, but now he plans to make the most of it.
“It was a hard road for me. A lot of hard work got put in by a lot of good people. It’s, like I said, a really nice validation for me. It really all paid off. I’m going to take it day by day here and make the most of every opportunity.”
By Jon Sorensen