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Insider Only Chris Kunitz still the most likely option to play on Sidney Crosby’s left wing?

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KUNITZ ROLE IN 2015-2016

Winger Chris Kunitz has been the Penguins top-line left winger since late February of 2009, but the soon to be 36 year old goes into this season with his role up in the air for the first time in his career as a Penguin.

While all indications are Kunitz’ will get the first shot to stay on Sidney Crosby’s line and it’s the option the Penguins coaches prefer, Kunitz regression in play last season and competition behind him has Kunitz going into camp needing to prove he can still handle a top-line role.

This isn’t the lockout shortened season where the Penguins entered the year with Kunitz and Eric Tangradi as their top-2 line left wingers.

The competition at left wing in camp will be strong with Kunitz, David Perron, Sergei Plotnikov, and Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett also options to play left wing.

“You gotta go out and play the way you think helps the team,” Kunitz said to reporters today when asked about his role. “What I’ve always done. You have to earn your way every year.”

The Penguins forward group has been revamped and it was no surprise to veterans in that room like Kunitz to see changes and the Penguins to add a potential game changer in Kessel.

“When you lose so many close games in the playoffs, adding a guy like Kessel can change that dynamic,” Kunitz said. “Depth down the center is unbelievable.”

Other than Crosby – Kessel, and Malkin – Hornqvist, there’s going to be a lot of interchanging in the top-9.

“Lot of interchanging,” Kunitz said of the current group forwards. Don’t think there will be a lot of set pieces.”

KUNITZ – CROSBY – KESSEL?

Sidney Crosby isn’t the only player giddy about playing with Phil Kessel. Kunitz feels he can be the other piece on the line. “Obviously you want Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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