ARLINGTON, Va. — Washington Capitals forward Beck Malenstyn has been a fantastic addition to Washington’s bottom six. Though he has yet to get on the scoresheet, through the first nine games of the season, Malenstyn was not one to put up eye-popping offensive numbers throughout his career.
Rather he was a player that did all the subtle plays that a successful fourth line winger is typically tasked with.
“Little plays on the penalty kill, forecheck, [puck] touches, things like that. Breaking out of the d-zone, those little plays along the wall. Those are the kind of plays that keep you in the lineup,” Malenstyn told NoVaCaps. “Having that hammered down attention to detail on those types of moments throughout a hockey game and just making sure I do them as consistently as possible.”
The 25-year-old has especially stood out on the penalty kill. The PK is currently 18th in the NHL at 76.7%. The short-handed unit has not given up a power-play goal in the last three games after it was near the bottom of the league when the season started.
Malenstyn has been a vital component to why it has been so successful. He has done an excellent job at reading plays and sacrificing his body to get the puck out of the zone on the PK. Washington killed off two power plays in its 3-0 loss against the New York Islanders.
He is currently first among forwards with 13 blocked shots and sixth overall and is third on the team with 18 hits.
The Capitals did a lot of things right to win Thursday’s game against New York. They dominated possession time and had 18 high-danger scoring opportunities, but they could not bury a puck past Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov. However, Malenstyn showed a small portion of his skill along with continuing to build on the details of the game.
He drew a penalty because he was using his speed and grinding his way to the middle of the ice. Washington has struggled to get interior presence and score those gritty rebound goals. Capitals head coach Spencer Carbery said that Malenstyn’s play against New York is what he wants to see his team do more of.
“I think he’s had a very, very strong last few games starting with the penalty kill which is really important for him but also his speed forecheck pressure… That’s what you need to do to score. You gotta beat checks, you gotta get to the interior and that’s what Mal did,” Carbery said. “I think his game has been really strong and continuing to build on that and be consistent as a young player with the penalty kill stuff, and then also bring in his energy, physicality, forecheck pressure and then trying to turn a few of his puck touches into potentially some scoring opportunities like he did last night.”
The 2016 fifth-round pick played for Carbery with the Hershey Bears in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons respectively. Malenstyn says that those details were ingrained to his game early on in his professional career and were harped on even more in Chocolate Town.
“You’re given a pretty clear plan on trying to get to this level and what that’s going to take and what that you need to do on every given night,” Malenstyn said. “He’s hammered home those details with me for a long time, which made it a lot easier for me coming in this year of just having a really clear idea of what he expects out of me and just trying to do that as consistently as possible.”
Malenstyn and the Capitals will look to bounce back when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, Nov. 4.
By Jacob Cheris