Many NHL teams feel the need to follow the blueprint of the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins in that you need to play heavy to win in the post-season.
The Penguins are not necessarily one of them who believe that.
The Penguins are an organization that lacks power forward type of wingers in their system. There’s no denying that. One complaint about the Penguins is that they target smallish players in the draft. This year the three forwards they selected Jake Guentzel (5-9, 153), Troy Josephs (5-11, 179), and Blaine Byron (5-11, 163) were all under six foot.
When looking at the Penguins immediate roster for next season, they lack those type of “heavy” players on their bottom two lines.
With the signing of Matt D’Agostini to a one-way deal, the Penguins are looking to have three skilled scoring lines in Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis, Jussi Jokinen/Beau Bennett – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal, and Matt D’Agostini – Brandon Sutter – Beau Bennett/Jussi Jokinen.
The Penguins 4th line for now is shaping up with Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale and Craig Adams. Harry Zolnierczyk, Dustin Jeffrey are top candidates vying for spots with Zach Sill, Chris Conner, Andrew Ebbett, and Nick Drazenovic likely to be in the mix going into training camp.
The Penguins clearly lack size and toughness on their bottom-2 lines.
While it’s a big longshot, Adam Payerl is player to keep an eye on going into this season, though he’s more likely to push for playing time in 2014-2015.
Payerl, 22, has excellent size at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, and he has those power forward type traits the Penguins lack. His skating ability for a big guy stood out today and when asked about which players who could push for a bottom line role, Tom Fitzgerald specifically mentioned Adam Payerl.
“Big guy like Adam Payerl, ” Fitzgerald said. “He’s big, he can skate, can shoot the puck. He bangs and crashes, he’s a guy we believe could fill a role on bottom of the lineup.”