The fall of Ryan Malone was well-documented. But now he’s making a comeback.
Once a 50-point forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008 and signed a considerable seven-year contract worth $31 million, with trade protection. He would play six years with the Lightning with middling results, but his career fell apart in 2012, mostly due to injuries: Limited to 24 games and scoring eight points. Then 15 points in 57 games the next season. Then, in 2014 when Malone was 34, GM Steve Yzerman announced the team was buying out the last year of his contract.
That was also the year Malone’s reputation too a massive hit: He was arrested in April 2014 on charges of DUI and cocaine possession. He received 12 months probation, agreed to enter a diversion program and apologized to the Lightning. He briefly joining the New York Rangers in 2014-15 before being demoted to AHL Hartford.
It was reported in May 2016 that Malone “quietly filed his retirement papers” to end his 11-year NHL career, and appeared to indicate to the Tribune Review that life had gone on. “I’m lucky enough that I got paid a little bit of money. I’m thankful for everyone who helped me along the road. Now’s my time to start to giving back. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, to help some other kids to enjoy this game and help them be respectful people,” he said.
In 2017, he got back on the ice. He played in a Penguins vs. Flyers alumni game in January. Earlier this month, Malone was a coach in Minnesota’s “Da Beauty League,” where NHL players compete in 4-on-4 no-hit games to stay loose.
Maybe he felt the itch. Maybe this has been in his mind for a bit. Whatever the case, Ryan Malone is headed to an NHL camp next month on a professional tryout contract, as the Minnesota Wild announced that the 37-year-old winger will attend their training camp.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 31, 2017
Yeah, we didn’t see that coming either.
Who knows? Maybe the feel like he can show Jason Zucker a thing or two. Maybe they wanted someone in camp that could talk about the 1980s with Matt Cullen. Most likely, GM Chuck Fletcher is doing a solid for an old friend from his Penguins days. Michael Russo makes the point that an AHL-only contract for Malone would actually make him Olympic eligible.
What a chance for Ryan Malone. Here’s hoping he doesn’t blow it.
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS