Jeff Malcolm Has Big Fan In Wolf Pack's Gernander

Author: John Altavilla, courant.com
Date: Mar 24, 2017

During his time as coach of the Wolf Pack, Ken Gernander has come to understand something fundamental about those who have played for him. Not every player has the talent to make the NHL. But everyone has the opportunity to make an impression with their teammates.

And in the four years since goaltender Jeff Malcolm left Yale to sign with the New York Rangers, time that he has spent bouncing back and forth between the ECHL and AHL, Gernander has learned Malcolm stands ahead of the class in one very important respect.

"His No. 1 asset as far as a goaltender would probably be his character," Gernander said. "To me, character is one trait that will remain with you throughout the course of your life. That tells you what I feel about Jeff as a person.

"I think his teammates respond favorably to him because of what a character guy he is. He's a guy who legitimately gives his team an opportunity to win night in and night out. I think when you put Jeff Malcolm in the net you know what you are going to get. Your team is going to have the chance to win the game and he's going to be in their battling for his team."

Malcolm is grateful to have earned that respect.

"It's something that I pride myself in," Malcolm said. "It's a product of what I've learned all the way back to my days at Yale under coach Keith Allain. You try to portray a professionalism and respect for the game and try to use those characteristics to help you be where you want to be, not only in terms of the game, but in life."

Malcolm was in the midst of his third call of duty with the Wolf Pack before being returned to the ECHL on Thursday. This time around, Magnus Hellberg had been recalled to the Rangers after Henrik Lundqvist was injured and Brandon Halverson sent back to Greenville of the ECHL.

He picked up his first AHL shutout against Rochester in mid-December and right after Christmas time, Malcolm was recalled for one game when the Rangers and Wolf Pack ran into an emergency caused by illness.

"We've brought him in on nights where his flight landed at 5 p.m. and he's played a 7 p.m. game. There were no excuses made, no falloff in his play. He's just a great kid," Gernander said.

Malcolm emerged as a pro prospect during his senior year at Yale, posting a 20-6-2 record with a 2.24 goals against average and a 91.9% save percentage. He ended his career with a 36-save performance in a 4-0 win over Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four Championship Game, leading Yale to its first title.

Three months later, Malcolm signed a free agent contract with the Rangers. In his first professional season, Malcolm was 13-9-3, 2.90 in 27 games for the Greenville and 1-3, 2.85 in six games for Hartford.

And in the years that have followed – he is in the midst of his fourth one-year deal with the Rangers - Malcolm's career has basically mirrored his rookie season.

The majority of his time has been spent in the ECHL. Malcolm has played in only 36 AHL games since the 2013-14 season. This year, he has appeared in five, with a goals-against average of 4.66 after playing in 26 for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits with a goals-against of 3.46.

"I love Hartford and love Connecticut, I will always say it's like a second home to me," Malcolm said.

"Obviously I want to be progressing with my career and up until the end of last year, when I had an injury that set me back a little, I felt I was doing that. I still love the game and will always be grateful for what it has provided me."

Malcolm was a political science major at Yale with an interest in international relations and has considered a career in law. And even though he has many college friends now immersed in the financial industry, Malcolm is in no hurry to move his life along.

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