|Malhotra scored 48 points in 159 games|
as an instant fan favourite in Vancouver.
Even while struggling to return to form in 2011-12, Malhotra led all Canucks forwards in average shorthanded ice time (2:24 minutes per game), while his faceoff percentage (58.5%) ranked fourth in the league. At the time of Gillis' announcement, those statistical trends were steadfastly continuing into the current campaign (2:47 and 65.3%). By comparison, Malhotra's numbers from his first year in Vancouver were 2:45 shorthanded minutes per game with a 61.7% faceoff percentage.
That's not to say that his defensive play, as a whole, was unaffected by his injury. From a statistical standpoint, Malhotra's blocked shot and takeaway totals last season were nearly half that of the 2010-11 campaign (45 blocked shots to 74 and 22 takeaways to 45). And while his 2011-12 statistics, including 7 goals and 18 points, constituted above-average fourth-line contributions, his play had observably diminished, nonetheless.
Whether Malhotra remains a practical utility to the Canucks, however, has been reduced to a moot argument. The Mississauga-native with unquestioned character and leadership is destined for a much-deserved role somewhere within the organization. Be it with the coaching staff or front office, Vancouver can only hope he remains with the Canucks in some capacity for the long term.
'Bout time Vigneault had some healthy competition on the payroll, anyways.
*See Malhotra's Top 5 Moments with the Canucks, as determined by BTD, here.