Ryan Malone was arrested for driving under the influence and cocaine possession back on April 12th. Malone’s attorney entered a “not guilty” plea on April 22nd.
Additional details regarding Malone’s arrest were released by the Tampa Tribune. Malone was pulled over and refused to perform a field sobriety test. When Malone was searched, a small bag of cocaine was found inside his back right pocket. Later, blood-alcohol tests revealed Malone was at a 0.116 and a 0.112, well above Florida’s legal limit of 0.08.
Based on the evidence that’s been released, it sounds like there’s a fairly strong case against Malone. While we haven’t heard Malone’s explanation for the night’s events, it’s safe to bet that we won’t be seeing him for a while. The maximum penalties are pretty steep, with the cocaine charge carrying a maximum of five years in prison and the DUI charge carrying a maximum of a six-month stay in jail.
What does this mean for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Honestly, not much. It looks bad for the organization, but any kind of Malone fallout shouldn’t cause too many ripples out on the ice. Malone was already a healthy scratch several times in 2013-14 and he missed time with injuries. Over the course of 57 games, Malone tallied five goals and 10 assists and averaged a little over 11 minutes per game.
Malone has one year left on his current contract, but at 34 and with a potential prison sentence staring him in the face, we may have seen Malone’s last game in the NHL.