Centre Merlin Malinowski played parts of five seasons in the NHL during the 1970s and '80s. He was a fine offensive player with quick hands whose misfortune was to spend most of his career with the weak Colorado Rockies.
The native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan first made a name for himself with the Drumheller Falcons of the AJHL before moving on to the WCJHL. After scoring 48 goals for the Medicine Hat Tigers in 1977-78, Malinowski was chosen 27th overall by Colorado at the Amateur Draft.
The young pivot began his pro career with the AHL's Philadelphia Firebirds before he was recalled to the parent club. Malinowski scored 23 points in 54 games but did not impress at the following year's training camp. The talented forward played all but ten games of the 1979-80 schedule with the CHL's Fort Worth Texans. In 1980-81, Malinowski enjoyed his finest big-league season with 25 goals and 62 points while playing on the same line as Ron Delorme and Gary Croteau. His production slipped to 13 goals the next season and the club began to reduce his ice time while using other skaters on the power play.
Early in the 1982-83 schedule, Malinowski was traded to the Hartford Whalers where he was a solid playmaker but a defensive liability. The next year, he joined EC Arosa of Switzerland where he played three years before suiting up for rivals EC Langnau. In 1987-88, Malinowski joined the Canadian National Team and scored three goals in eight games at the Calgary Olympics. He retired in 1989 after scoring 62 points in 32 games for Langnau.