Manny Malhotra

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Manny Malhotra
Manny Malhotra 2011-12-13.jpg
Malhotra with the Canucks in 2012
Born (1980-05-18) May 18, 1980 (age 34)
Mississauga, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers
Dallas Stars
Columbus Blue Jackets
San Jose Sharks
Vancouver Canucks
Carolina Hurricanes
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 7th overall, 1998
New York Rangers
Playing career 1998–present

Manny Noveen Malhotra (born May 18, 1980) is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre who currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). He previously played in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, and Carolina Hurricanes. Malhotra is known as a two-way forward and for his faceoff proficiency.[1][2][3]

Malhotra was drafted in the first round as the seventh overall pick of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers. He joined the NHL after a two-year career in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Guelph Storm, with whom he served as captain in his final year. Winning a J. Ross Robertson Cup championship and subsequently appearing in the 1998 Memorial Cup with the Storm, Malhotra also earned a Bobby Smith Trophy, George Parsons Trophy and Memorial Cup All-Star honours as a junior.

He played with the Rangers from 1998 to 2002. During this time he was assigned on numerous occasions to the team's AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, with whom he won a Calder Cup championship in 2000. At the 2001–02 trade deadline, he was dealt to the Stars and spent parts of three seasons with the club. Beginning in 2003–04, Malhotra began to see increased offensive production, marked by his acquisition off waivers by the Blue Jackets. After four seasons in Columbus, he signed a one-year contract with the Sharks in September 2009. He recorded a career-high in goals with San Jose, before joining the Canucks on a three-year deal. In his first season with Vancouver, Malhotra suffered a major injury to his left eye, requiring several surgeries. Despite having lost a significant amount of his vision, he returned the same year to compete in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. He struggled to play with the injury until Canucks management placed him on the injured reserve for the remainder of the 2012-13 season in February 2013.

Internationally, Malhotra has represented Canada in under-18 competition, two World Junior Championships and one World Championship. Serving as team captain at the 2000 World Junior Championships, Malhotra led Canada to a bronze medal.

Playing career[edit]

Guelph Storm[edit]

After playing minor hockey with the Mississauga Reps of the Metro Toronto Hockey League (MTHL),[4] After being selected in the 1st round (17th overall) of the 1996 OHL Priority Selection, Malhotra played two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Guelph Storm, beginning in 1996–97. He scored 16 goals and 44 points over 61 games in his rookie season. In the 1997 playoffs, he added 14 points in 18 games as Guelph lost in the semifinals to the Ottawa 67's.[5] The following season, he improved to 16 goals and 51 points over 57 games. He served as team captain while being assigned the primary role of shutting down opposing team's top forwards.[6][7] Guelph advanced to the OHL Finals, where they defeated Ottawa in five games to capture the J. Ross Robertson Cup.[8] Malhotra had 13 points in 12 games in the championship-winning playoff season. Earning a berth into the 1998 Memorial Cup, Guelph made it to the final, where they lost to the Portland Winter Hawks 4–3 in overtime.[9] Malhotra ranked third in tournament scoring with a goal and seven points over five games.[10] He was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team and was awarded the George Parsons Trophy as the tournament's most sportsmanlike player.[11]

New York Rangers[edit]

In the off-season, Malhotra was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round, seventh overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. The Rangers scouted him as a strong, physical player with good hockey sense and character, comparing him to Adam Graves.[7][12] He was surprised to have been selected by the Rangers, as they were one of the only teams to have not interviewed or met with him prior to the draft.[13] He anticipated being drafted by the Calgary Flames at sixth overall, as the team's general manager, Al Coates had previously drafted him into the OHL as general manager of the Storm.[13]

With the 1998–99 approaching, Malhotra had not yet signed an NHL contract with the Rangers by October. League rules stipulated that if he did not sign by October 8, 1998, he would be required to return to junior for the entire campaign.[14] The night before the deadline, Malhotra and the Rangers agreed to a three-year deal worth the rookie-maximum of $975,000 with performance-based incentives that could have increased his salary to $2 million.[14] Making the immediate jump from junior to the NHL at the age of 18, he became the second player of Indian heritage to play in the NHL, after Robin Bawa.[15] Malhotra recorded eight goals and 16 points over 73 games as a rookie.

During the season, the Rangers were interested in acquiring Vancouver Canucks forward Pavel Bure.[16] It was reported that Canucks general manager Brian Burke had requested Malhotra to be involved in a trade that would have sent him along with Niklas Sundstrom, Dan Cloutier and the Rangers' first-round pick in the 1999 draft in exchange for Bure.[16] However, Rangers general manager Neil Smith refused to include Malhotra and the deal never materialized.[16]

The following season, he struggled to earn a regular spot on the Rangers' roster and was often a healthy scratch.[17] Rangers head coach John Muckler publicly declared before the beginning of the Malhotra's second NHL campaign that he would be nothing more than a career third-liner.[18] Malhotra's potential was often at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Muckler and Smith.[19]

Malhotra suffered an ankle injury in November that sidelined him for four games.[20] Upon his recovery, his play was judged by team management to have suffered and he began to be benched.[20] Meanwhile, the Canadian national junior team wanted the Rangers to loan him to them for the 2000 World Junior Championships.[20] On December 12, 1999, general manager Neil Smith obliged and assigned Malhotra for the international tournament.[20] He was then sent for a two-week conditioning assignment with the Rangers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.[17] On March 14, 2000, he was sent back down to the OHL on March 14, 2000, in order to retain his eligibility for later AHL assignment in the season.[21][22] Malhotra had dressed for only four games in the two months between his return from the World Junior Championships in early-January and his junior reassignment.[20] He was pointless in the 27 games total he played with the Rangers that season.

Returning to Guelph, he played in five regular season and six playoff games. Upon his junior club's first-round playoff elimination, he was reassigned to the Wolf Pack where he recorded a goal and six points over 12 games to finish the regular season.[21] He then added three points in 23 post-season contests, helping the Wolf Pack to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship.

Malhotra returned to the Wolf Pack the following season after failing to make the Rangers' roster out of training camp.[19] With New York deep at the centre position, his AHL assignment was predicated on him learning to play wing.[19] He received numerous call-ups to New York and finished the 2000–01 campaign with 11 points over 28 games in the AHL and 12 points over 50 games in the NHL. The season also marked a management change as Glen Sather took over as general manager, marking the departure of Smith, who had drafted Malhotra and regarded him as untradeable during his tenure.[18]

Fifty-six games into his 2001–02 season with the Rangers, Sather dealt Malhotra to the Dallas Stars at the trade deadline, along with winger Barrett Heisten, in exchange for forwards Martin Rucinsky and Roman Lyashenko.[18] Although he had established himself as an effective forechecker and defensive forward, Malhotra did not materialize into the offensive player the Rangers hoped he would be.[23]

Post-New York[edit]

Malhotra welcomed the trade to Dallas as an opportunity for more playing time, as he was sparsely used with the Rangers.[18] However, he saw limited success with the Stars. Following his trade, he recorded one point, a goal, in 16 games to finish the 2001–02 season. He was re-signed by Dallas to a two-year contract on June 27, 2002.[11] In 2002–03, he recorded 10 points over 59 games. He appeared in his first Stanley Cup playoffs as the Stars qualified for the 2003 post-season as the top seed in the Western Conference.[24] They were eliminated in the second round by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.[24]

An ice hockey player, seen from the side, in a ready position. He is slightly crouched while standing on his skates and holds his stick in both hands. He wears a teal jersey with black trim, as well a black helmet.
Malhotra during his tenure with San Jose

After going pointless in nine games early the following season, the Stars waived Malhotra on November 19, 2003.[11] Two days later, he was picked up by the Columbus Blue Jackets.[11] Malhotra improved with the Blue Jackets, notching 12 goals and 25 points over 56 games following the trade. He missed the final six games of the regular season with a bruised ankle.[11] His ice time rose from an average of nine minutes a game with Dallas the previous season to 14 minutes in Columbus.[25][26]

Due to the NHL lockout, Malhotra spent the 2004–05 season overseas in Europe. He initially signed with HDD Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia on October 8, 2004, and recorded 27 points over 26 games (including both Slovenian league and inter-league play).[11] On December 12, he signed with HV71 Jönköping of the Swedish Elite League.[11] He notched seven points in 20 games with the club.

Returning to Columbus as NHL resumed play the following season, Malhotra spent 2005–06 centering Columbus' third line. Despite missing 24 games due to injury with back spasms in November and a shoulder injury in January,[11] he improved his points total for the second straight NHL season with 10 goals and 21 assists. The Blue Jackets re-signed him in the off-season to a three-year contract on June 20, 2006.[11] In the first year of his new contract, he tallied nine goals and 25 points over a full 82-game season.

Malhotra missed 11 games with a recurring knee injury in December 2007.[11] Late in the 2007–08 season, on March 17, 2008, he recorded a career-high three points in one game (two goals and an assist) in a 4–3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.[27] He finished the campaign with 11 goals and 29 points. Early in the 2008–09 season, Malhotra missed five games with a lower-body injury.[11] He recorded a career-high 24 assists and 35 points over 77 games during the campaign. As Columbus was plagued with numerous injuries over the course of the season, Malhotra was used on various lines while also in a shutdown role, playing against top opposing forwards.[3]

His contract was not renewed by the Blue Jackets in the 2009 off-season and he became an unrestricted free agent. After failing to sign with an NHL team, Malhotra accepted an invitation to the San Jose Sharks' training camp on September 17, 2009.[11] Five days later, he signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the team.[2][11] He went on to record a career-high 14 goals and plus-17 rating, along with 19 assists for 33 points, in his only season with the Sharks. He centred the team's third line and earned time playing wing on the powerplay.[2] The Sharks did not re-sign him, however, and he became an unrestricted free agent for the second consecutive summer on July 1, 2010.[2] Looking back on his time in San Jose, Malhotra called it the "most enjoyable season [he's] had as a pro," being able to play for a winning team and have a long playoff run for the first time in his NHL career.[2]

Vancouver Canucks[edit]

An ice hockey player seen from the side in a ready position. His legs are planted as he holds his stick outward in front of him. He wears a white jersey with blue and green trim.
Malhotra during the 2011–12 season

On his first day of free agency on July 1, 2010, Malhotra signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks that included a no-trade clause.[28] Malhotra was named an alternate captain during away games for the Canucks before the season began.[29] He scored his first goal as a Canuck on October 22, during a 5–1 win against the Minnesota Wild.[30] Malhotra settled into to the Canucks' lineup as the team's third-line centre, often playing with wingers Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen, while playing significant time on the penalty kill and matching up against opposing team's best forwards. His success as a defensive specialist earned him early consideration for the Selke Trophy as the league's best two-way forward. In an article on the NHL's website, he was chosen as the front-runner for the award at the mid-way point of the campaign. He was also credited with allowing the team to use Ryan Kesler in a more offensive role (Kesler was the team's previous shutdown centre); as a result, the second-line centre recorded career-highs in goals and points.[31]

Near the end of the season, Malhotra was struck in the eye by a puck during a game against the Colorado Avalanche on March 16, 2011. He immediately left the ice and underwent eye surgery the following day.[32] It was announced on March 21, 2011 that Malhotra would not be returning to the lineup for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, without further comment on Malhotra's condition.[33] Eight days later, he underwent a second successful surgery on his eye.[34] Limited to 72 games, Malhotra recorded his third consecutive 30-point season with 11 goals and 19 assists, while playing on the Canucks' third line with Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen.[35] His 61.7% faceoff percentage ranked second in the league behind David Steckel.[36] The campaign also included the 100th goal of his NHL career, scored in a 3-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks on March 6, 2011.[37]

On a team-basis, Malhotra's first season with the Canucks saw them earn the Presidents' Trophy for having the best regular season record in the league. In the midst of his recovery, Malhotra made an appearance during the team's pre-game ceremony at Rogers Arena, co-accepting the trophy with captain Henrik Sedin.[38] Despite original statements from the team that he would not return for the playoffs, Malhotra began working his way up from light practices with the team in May 2011.[39] By the end of the month, he was cleared by doctors to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.[40] Though he remained out of the lineup for Game 1, he returned for the following contest and played the rest of the series as the team's fourth-line centre (late-season acquisition Maxim Lapierre filled in for Malhotra on the third line). Playing against the Boston Bruins, the Finals went to a seventh game, which the Canucks lost. Malhotra's regular season performance earned him six first-place votes out of 125 for the Selke Trophy.[notes 1] He ranked fifth in balloting, as teammate Ryan Kesler won the distinction at the year-end Awards Ceremony.[41]

Having lost a significant amount of his vision in his left eye, Malhotra struggled in his first full season since the injury in 2011–12. He was supplanted as the Canucks' third-line centre by rookie Cody Hodgson and later Samuel Pahlsson.[notes 2] Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault assessed Malhotra during the season as "not the same physical player he was before,"[42] adding that "He's still contributing but not maybe to the degree that he was before he got injured."[43] Playing left wing on the fourth line, he remained an integral part of the team by playing on the penalty kill and taking important defensive zone faceoffs. Near the end of the campaign, Malhotra was chosen as the Canucks' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, an annual NHL award for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.[43] With a diminished offensive role, Malhotra finished his second season in Vancouver with 7 goals and 18 points over 78 games, as well as a -10 plus-minus rating. He remained among the league's elite in terms of faceoffs, however, ranking fourth with a 58.5% percentage.[44]

Continuing to struggle with his eye injury, Malhotra was put on the injured reserve a month into the 2012-13 season. Fearing for his long-term health, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis took him out of the lineup for the season, a decision that he described as the "hardest thing [he has] done in [his] job."[45] Malhotra had appeared in nine games without recording a point.

Carolina Hurricanes[edit]

At the end of the 2013 NHL season, Malhotra became an unrestricted free agent. After being unsigned by an NHL team at the start of the 2013–14 season and looking to continue his playing career Malhotra signed a 25 game professional try out (PTO) contract with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers.[46] The Carolina Hurricanes signed Malhotra to a one year two way contract on October 31 and he made his Carolina debut against the New York Rangers on November 2. On November 6, Manny scored his first NHL goal in 19 months, scoring a game winner in overtime against the Flyers. As a measure of the amount of respect he has earned in the locker room in just a few weeks, Manny was selected to be an interim Assistant Captain while Tim Gleason is out with an injury. After Gleason was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Malhotra was officially declared Alternate Captain for the remainder of the season.

Montreal Canadiens[edit]

On July 1, 2014, Malhotra signed as a free agent to a one-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens.[47]

International career[edit]

Medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for  Canada
World Junior Championship
Bronze 2000 Sweden

In the summer of 1997, Malhotra captained Canada's under-18 team to a championship at the 3 Nations Cup in the Czech Republic.[48][49] Canada finished as tournament champions, going undefeated over six games against the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the three-country competition.[49]

The following year, Malhotra was named to the Canadian national under-20 team for the 1998 World Junior Championships, held in Finland. He was the second-youngest player on the team, behind Vincent Lecavalier.[50] Malhotra was pointless in seven games as Canada was defeated in the quarterfinal by Russia 2–1.[51] The following year, he was not available for the tournament as he was playing in the NHL with the Rangers. In 2000, however, he was loaned to Team Canada by the Rangers' organization, as he was still eligible as a junior.[20] Serving as team captain,[52] he notched two assists over seven games in the tournament, held in Sweden. Canada earned the bronze medal, defeating the United States 4–3 in a shootout.[53]

Malhotra debuted with Canada's men's team at the 2002 World Championships in Sweden. He recorded no points in seven games as Canada was eliminated in the quarterfinal by Slovakia.[54]

Personal life[edit]

Malhotra was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario.[55] His father, Shadi was born in Lahore, British India (now Pakistan), and worked as a research chemist for Xerox.[13][56][57] He holds over 110 patents and is now retired. His mother, Lise,[7] is a French-Canadian and was a stay-at-home mom.[13][55] His parents both hold doctorate degrees from the Université Laval in Quebec City – his father's in polymer chemistry and his mother's in biochemistry – and prioritized education for Malhotra.[48][57] Due to his mother's French background, he spoke both French and English at home.[55] Malhotra has three siblings, two brothers and a sister.[13]

Malhotra started playing organized hockey at the age of seven.[13] He attended John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga before graduating from Our Lady of Lourdes in Guelph, Ontario.[58] Malhotra moved to Guelph to begin his OHL career with the Guelph Storm, during which time he was awarded the Bobby Smith Trophy as the OHL's scholastic player of the year in 1998.[57] He has referred to it as the award he is most proud of in his hockey career.[13] In 2009, he received the National Leadership Award in a ceremony at his former high school in Guelph.[58]

In his initial years with the Rangers, the organization arranged for him to live with former player Doug Sulliman and his family.[13] In September 2007, Malhotra married Joann Nash, sister of National Basketball Association (NBA) star Steve Nash and former Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Martin Nash.[13] Malhotra and Joann had their first child in the summer of 2008, a boy named Caleb.[3] and their second son, Isaiah was born on September 30, 2012.[3]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1995–96 Mississauga Reps Bantam GTHL 54 27 44 71 38
1996–97 Guelph Storm OHL 61 16 28 44 26 18 7 7 14 11
1997–98 Guelph Storm OHL 57 16 35 51 29 12 7 6 13 8
1998–99 New York Rangers NHL 73 8 8 16 33
1999–00 Guelph Storm OHL 5 2 2 4 4 6 0 2 2 4
1999–00 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 12 1 5 6 2 23 1 2 3 10
1999–00 New York Rangers NHL 27 0 0 0 4
2000–01 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 28 5 6 11 69 5 0 0 0 0
2000–01 New York Rangers NHL 50 4 8 12 31
2001–02 New York Rangers NHL 56 7 6 13 42
2001–02 Dallas Stars NHL 16 1 0 1 5
2002–03 Dallas Stars NHL 59 3 7 10 42 5 1 0 1 0
2003–04 Dallas Stars NHL 9 0 0 0 4
2003–04 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 56 12 13 25 24
2004–05 HDD Olimpija Ljubljana SloL 13 7 7 14 16
2004–05 HDD Olimpija Ljubljana Slo 13 6 7 13 20
2004–05 HV71 SEL 20 5 2 7 16
2005–06 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 58 10 21 31 41
2006–07 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 82 9 16 25 76
2007–08 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 71 11 18 29 34
2008–09 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 77 11 24 35 28 4 0 0 0 0
2009–10 San Jose Sharks NHL 71 14 19 33 41 15 1 0 1 0
2010–11 Vancouver Canucks NHL 72 11 19 30 22 6 0 0 0 0
2011–12 Vancouver Canucks NHL 78 7 11 18 14 5 0 0 0 0
2012–13 Vancouver Canucks NHL 9 0 0 0 0
2013–14 Charlotte Checkers AHL 8 0 0 0 17
2013–14 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 69 7 6 13 18
NHL totals 933 115 176 291 439 35 2 0 2 0

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
1998 Canada Jr. WJC 8th 7 0 0 0 0
2000 Canada Jr. WJC 7 0 2 2 8
2002 Canada WC 6th 7 0 0 0 4
Junior totals 14 0 2 2 8
Senior totals 7 0 0 0 4

Awards[edit]

Award Year
Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL's scholastic player of the year) 1998
George Parsons Trophy (Memorial Cup's most sportsmanlike player) 1998
Memorial Cup All-Star Team 1998

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ He also earned 10 second-place, 10 third-place, 14 fourth-place and 7 fifth-place votes[41]
  2. ^ Pahlsson was acquired at the traded deadline and assumed the third-line centre position in place of Hodgson, who had been dealt away.

References[edit]

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  58. ^ a b Saxon, Tony (2009-05-28). "Former Storm Manny Malhotra earns National Leadership Award". Guelph Mercury. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jake McCracken
Bobby Smith Trophy
1998
Succeeded by
Rob Zepp
Preceded by
Radoslav Suchy
George Parsons Trophy
1998
Succeeded by
Brian Campbell
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Stefan Cherneski
New York Rangers first round draft pick
1998
Succeeded by
Pavel Brendl