The Expectation Game at Forward: Season Projections for Opening Night Roster

 

FORWARDS LINE 1: Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist Jake Guentzel | 17-18 Season: 22 Goals, 48 Pts | Projections: 29 Goals, 67 Pts | Buzz: Guentzel starred once again in the 2018 postseason with 10 goals and 11 assists in 12 playoff games. We all know about his great production in the postseason. In the present, what the Penguins are looking for is more consistency in the regular season. There’s a lot at stake here. Guentzel and the Penguins know what a 65 type point season will mean for Guentzel this coming summer, a likely payday in the $5+ million range on a long-term deal. The player is extremely motivated for a big season, changing some habits away from the rink with his brother moving in with him to help the daily rigors of being a young professional athlete, and if Guentzel stays in a role asRead More »

Opening Night Takeaways: Caps Celebration continues, Matthews will get $12.5-$13 million per season

 

NHL OPENING NIGHT TAKEAWAYS WSH 7 – BOS 0 (F) TOR 3 – MTL 2 (OT) VAN 5 – CGY 2 (F) ANA 5 – SJ 2 (F) The celebration continues in Washington At least for one night, no Stanley Cup hangover in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the defending Champs raised their Stanley Cup banner and roared to a 7-0 thrashing of the Boston Bruins. Washington scored 24 seconds into the game on a T.J. Oshie goal and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a 1:23 later as the Capitals led 2-0 just a 1:47 into the game. They never took the gas off the pedal. Kuznetsov had 2 goals in the win and Nicklas Backstrom added 3 assists to lead the way for Washington. The obvious storylines for the Capitals entering the season is what type of Stanley Cup hangover if any they will habe and the loss of Tom Wilson. NeitherRead More »

Preseason Game 5 Takeaways: Comfort level evolving for Brassard line; Where Sprong’s hold on 4th line spot stands & more buzz

 

GAME LEADERS Phil Kessel | 2 Goals Kris Letang | Goal, 5 Shots Derick Brassard | Goal, 3 Shots Matt Cullen | Goal Matt Murray | 21 Saves In what is expected to be their final dress rehearsal before next Thursday night’s opener, the Penguins as a whole had the type of performance you want to see in a 5-1 win over the Sabres on Wednesday night. Pittsburgh played fast and explosive in beating the Sabres up and down ice in all three zones. Don’t be mistaken, this was a big-time watered down Sabres lineup that was on the ice at PPG Paints Arena. No Jack Eichel, no Jeff Skinner or no Rasmus Dahlin, amongst others, but for the Penguins encouraging signs from some lines/groupings carried over from practice to Wednesday’s game. Most notably the Simon-Brassard-Rust line. Coaches have loved what they’ve seen from the line in practices and thereRead More »

Penguins lines/D-Groupings starting to trend towards what we’ll see opening night

 

FORWARDS 1st: Guentzel – Crosby – Hornqvist 2nd: Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel 3rd: Simon – Brassard – Rust 4th: Cullen – Sheahan – Sprong 5th: Aston-Reese – Grant – Dea Defensemen DuMoulin – Letang Oleksiak – Schultz Maatta – Johnson Riikola – Ruhwedel/Trotman What to make of the Penguins practice lines/groupings on Tuesday? It’s starting to trend more towards what we’ll see on opening night. The Daniel Sprong experiment on the top-line looks over for now. As expected, Patric Hornqvist is back on the top line with Crosby and Guentzel. Unless the staff decides to flip Bryan Rust and Hornqvist, expect Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist to be together opening night. The Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel line is pretty much locked in. Hard to see anything changing, barring injury. The coaches have been encouraged with the chemistry developing between Derick Brassard and Bryan Rust. We’re starting to trend where that pairing isRead More »

Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz on Developing situations & Unsettled Lineup decisions looming

 

Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz TIOPS Storylines [Haggerty, Blueger Impress] [Patience waning with Sprong?] [Numbers game/Aston-Reese] [Staff leaning towards Johnson/Maatta?] [Riikola/Scouts Buzz] [Rust primed for 50+ point season?] In a sense, Penguins training camp officially begins today. After Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings, Pittsburgh cut down their roster to 27 and return to the ice this morning after an off-day yesterday. Like all of the major pro sports, the NHL preseason/training camp is about 7-10 days too long and preparations for the regular season start this week where the experimenting phase with non-NHL players for this season is pretty much over. Here’s the Latest Buzz surrounding the Penguins: — Forwards Ryan Haggerty, Teddy Blueger among the cuts on Sunday, have created buzz in the organization with their trajectory and the strong camps they had. Haggerty has reminded some of Carter Rowney from his camp performance in 2016 thatRead More »

Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz: Keys areas to watch with Daniel Sprong’s game

 

Key Factors that will determine Daniel Sprong playing with Crosby for a sustained period In an expected development, Daniel Sprong opened camp on Sidney Crosby’s right wing and has stayed in that spot since. This has been a preference of management and it’s going to get a look in the preseason. We’re at the stage of camp still where the coaching staff is in exploring mode. I’ve mentioned in the past about how in a perfect world the staff would love for a Sprong or Dominik Simon to show sustainability of being able to play Crosby in that it would allow the staff to do other things like play Patric Hornqvist with Derick Brassard in a third line role. Sprong has flashed his skilled game all camp, notably his dynamic shot, but we’ve learned little to this point of whether the coaching staff and Crosby will be comfortable enough toRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Fallout of the Max Pacioretty Trade

 

Latest NHL Buzz: Fallout of the Max Pacioretty trade The Max Pacioretty saga was only heading towards one direction, a trade, and the Montreal Canadiens sent their captain packing Monday morning in trading Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. In return for Pacioretty, Montreal acquired forward Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 from the Vegas Golden Knights (Columbus’ pick previously acquired by Vegas). Tatar who carries a $5.3 million cap hit through the 2020-2021 season, was a total disaster in Vegas, struggling mightily in the Knights fast-paced system. In Claude Julien’s slower paced system, Tatar may bring some value to a Canadiens team depleted at center. The key to the deal for Montreal is clearly Nick Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in 2017. He’s a versatile forward that can play all three positions and scouts think his ceiling will be 20 goal, 50 pointRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Talk of ‘Less minutes the better for Kris Letang’ is a great unknown for 2018-2019

 

Latest Pens Buzz (Daily 5) Rumblings, Musings, & Opinions Kris Letang is the Penguins biggest storyline in 2018-2019 because of him being such an unknown of whether Letang getting back into that top-10 to top-12 hemisphere among the best d-men in hockey is even possible for him anymore. This time of the year and when training camp opens is all about feel good stories. Buckle up for them. There’s probably going to be 10-12 ‘Kris Letang is primed for a big bounce back season’ stories out there if not already, ‘Kris Letang is in the best shape of his life’ (the annual training camp storyline in every sport) and so on. Give it three days into camp and one of the local publications in town will be calling Jack Johnson a ‘great signing and perfect fit’. But, what is reality of what to expect from Letang in 2018-2019? Turning 32Read More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Expected RW Competition on Crosby’s line; Karlsson Chatter, CBJ/Rick Nash rumors

 

Penguins countdown to camp storylines — The right wing situation on Sidney Crosby’s line — Mike Sullivan since he took over as head coach in December 2015 has always been a believer in spreading his lineup out among the top-3 lines. The top priority in 2018-2019 is getting more production out of the bottom-6, the key area the Penguins brass believes doomed them last season, not Kris Letang or the goaltender. Best case scenario, the belief is the coaching staff would love for D LATEST NHL BUZZ The New York Islanders have had a nightmare summer. Islanders ownership made a rush move into hiring Lou Lamoriello in thinking it enhanced their chances to keeping John Tavares when the Lamoriello hiring actually decreased the Islanders chances of signing Tavares, those on the inside say. They countered losing Tavares by signing Leo Komarov to a four-year contract, a washed up Valtteri FilppulaRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On the Kessel trade market; Carl Hagelin’s future, Jake Guentzel’s next contract & More Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz Rumblings, Musings & Opinions — The  Phil Kessel trade market died before the NHL Entry draft officially began on June 22, league sources say. Kessel was a fascinating situation early this summer as the 30 year old Kessel coming off a 92 point season was front and center in trade talks around the league in leading up to the draft. In early June Pittsburgh was aggressive in trying to find a star-for-star type trade, offering Kessel to a but as the draft got closer Pittsburgh had some trade scenarios brewing that could have netted 2-3 second-third tier level NHL players in return for Kessel. However, when the Penguins arrived in Dallas ready to pursue at least one of the trade scenarios they thought were in play, trade discussions with those clubs went completely dark and it wasn’t on the Penguins end. At the end of the day,Read More »