Beyond the Box Score: Sharks look like the 2016 Penguins; Low impact games from 71/81; Hertl Line vs 3rd-Pairing

 

Sharks overwhelm the Penguins in all three zones The San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins might only be separated by seven points in the standings, but that club in San Jose in a step above Pittsburgh in how they’re built and how much pace they play with. Watching San Jose and Pittsburgh last night, it felt like a reversal from 2016. This time San Jose is the club that comes at you in waves and with speed in all three zones that is just on another level. San Jose pushed the pace all night, baited Pittsburgh into trying to play a track meet and the Penguins couldn’t match the Sharks in any area of the rink. “I thought we got outplayed. We got outplayed in every area of the rink,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. We weren’t good enough. We lost the puck battles.” San Jose was excellent at usingRead More »

League Buzz: Brassard’s expiring contract carries value for deals involving high-priced 3rd line centers with term

 

Penguins eyeing forward for forward swap? Jim Rutherford has gone public again in comments about Derick Brassard in stating the obvious that Brassard is underperforming. Rutherford often speaks off the cuff but he’s also calculated in trying to get messages out. However, it’s reached the point where how does it do Brassard or the team any good at this point to go public that he’s performing well below expectations? Enough messages through the media and to the player have already been sent. The Penguins always planned to get through December before deciding which direction they wanted to go with Brassard and the decision’s been made over the last week or so to aggressively engage in trade scenario’s. Pittsburgh is evaluating situations to move Brassard for a draft pick to open up salary cap space that would be connected to a separate move, and are kicking around a forward for forwardRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Shorthanded Goals Against, Eastern Conference arms race to land Ferland

 

Long-term Concern or just a short-term bad habit? The Penguins allowed their league-leading 10th shorthanded goal in Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Shorthanded Goals Allowed: 2018-2019 Season: 10 in 45 games 2017-2018 Season: 3 in 82 Games 2016-2017 Season: 7 in 82 Games 2015-2016 Season: 5 in 82 Games Frustrations from Mike Sullivan are mounting and for good reason as this is nothing more than just laziness with the puck from the power play unit. Industry buzz is Pittsburgh initially built a package around

Latest Pens Buzz: Future of Tristan Jarry in PIT; 3rd Line center search back to Ottawa?

 

What the DeSmith Extension Means Casey DeSmith’s three year contract was a no-brainer for the 27 year old netminder. Maybe DeSmith could have got a few hundred thousand more on the open market, but for a player who has never been on a one-way contract, the security of a one-way contract for three seasons is significant. For the Penguins, there’s little risk with this extension and the three year commitment shows they are sold on DeSmith being a high-level backup caliber goaltender moving forward. “Since joining the Penguins’ organization, Casey has excelled for us at every level, first in Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and now here in Pittsburgh,” GM Jim Rutherford said Friday in a released statement. “We’re pleased to have him signed with our organization for the next three-and-a-half seasons.” A must in the remaining Cup window during the Sidney Crosby era is try to have the least amount ofRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Penguins-Hurricanes exchanging names in Ferland trade talks?

 

Latest Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz As the Penguins are surging, is Jim Rutherford looking to strike again well before the deadline? As some targets the Penguins have kicked tires on won’t truly become available till next month, there’s one scenario to monitor already. Canes GM Don Waddell has made it known to clubs he’s looking for a player-for-player type trade at this point, seeking to move Ferland for a skilled forward with term or a left handed defenseman with term. While Carolina would like a future asset also part of any Ferland trade, the priority is to move Ferland for immediate help. Team owner Thomas Dundon wants Carolina to go away from the Ron Francis route of trading rentals for draft picks. There’s enough talk around the league that Pittsburgh believes they can line up with Carolina for a trade. O

Penguins speed game, NZ/DZ structure shine in keeping the Jets to the outside

 

Penguins excel vs Jets in critical area The Penguins Friday night ran their winning streak to eight games with an impressive 4-0 shutout win over the Winnipeg Jets. Whether the Jets are a Stanley Cup contender like they are now or a bottom-feeder like they were for so long, things never change when it comes to Pittsburgh getting a ‘W’ against the Jets/Thrashers franchise. It’s just automatic. Pittsburgh’s winning streak has seen them feast on non-playoff teams and this one was the most impressive win thus far of the streak. The underlying #’s don’t tell the story of how good the Penguins were vs the Winnipeg. Pittsburgh finished the night a brutal 39% (5vs5) in possession, but they were about even in scoring chances and were +5 in high danger chances (all situations). As it’s been the case for a couple years now, When the Penguins are playing a speedRead More »

How the Penguins surge has impacted a change in trade talks & More Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz The Penguins seven game winning streak coincided with what is now a 12-2-1 run over their last 15 games, has seen the Penguins surge to second place in the division. What does this mean for Jim Rutherford on the trade market? It has made Rutherford even more aggressive in trade talks to upgrade a few spots, but the Penguins surge has certainly taken Pittsburgh out of some DEFENSEMAN EMERGES AS NO. 1 TRADE TARGET — Two months from now, could Pittsburgh have a top-2 pairing on the blueline of: Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang — Matt Murray is 6-0-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .955 save percentage since returning from injury. While Murray is said to have been dealing with some groin tightness when he went on the shelf in November, his absence was more about all parties involved deciding he needed to clear his head andRead More »

Brassard/Kessel line talk; Sundqvist 5vs5 production & More Buzz

 

The Penguins come into St. Louis tonight riding a four game win streak and what have we learned from this group during the streak? The win over Washington featured a lot of puck luck and when you get it, you need to take advantage of it as the Penguins did in gutting out the 2-1 win. What I’ve liked from the team in the wins that followed over Minnesota, Carolina and now Detroit out of the Christmas break is Pittsburgh overwhelming inferior teams. The Carolina game was one team having Sidney Crosby, the other didn’t. Against Detroit, Pittsburgh had a bad first period and then took over the game in the final forty minutes. And when there was a push by Detroit, Pittsburgh answered. Six out of the Penguins last eight wins have come against teams currently outside of the playoffs. Beat the teams you should and this team wasRead More »

Jake Guentzel will officially be a $6 million a year player in 19-20

 

Prior to the start of the 2018-2019 season, Jake Guentzel based on other player comps was trending to being a $5.5-$6+ million a year player when his current contract expired. With 15 goals and 33 points in 36 games this season, things reached the point where the longer the Penguins waited, the more expensive Guentzel was going to become. So Pittsburgh decided to act now than drag things into the summer where Guentzel would have had arbitration rights. [/hide]

Latest Pens Buzz: Ducks physically impose will on Penguins; Clubs looking into health concerns for Brassard?

 

Monday’s 4-2 loss for the Penguins was another game that showed maybe this is just who this team is. They can have a dominant 6-7 minute stretch like they did in the first period, but they the lack the proper territorial game over sixty minutes and Monday’s hockey game showed a hockey club that is extremely susceptible to getting physically man-handled for long stretches when it comes to puck battles in all three zones. Pittsburgh surrendered a 2-0 lead with one of the worst periods of hockey they’ve had all season in a disastrous stretch. Things, though, started to slip away from the Penguins immediately after the Rust goal where from the final five minutes of period one though a large portion of the second period Anaheim would go on to out-shoot the Penguins 19-0. Where this game turned was the Ducks physically imposing their will on Pittsburgh. The PenguinsRead More »