The Penguins report to training camp Wednesday morning with top storylines being Marc Andre Fleury, the return of Rob Scuderi, Matt Niskanen’s future, and who emerges as the best fit on Evgeni Malkin’s left wing, among others.
The top storyline for me, though, is the Penguins lack of sandpaper and grit on the third line and it’s going to be a primary focus this season.
Heck, there’s been chatter since early July of the coaching staff intending to give Tanner Glass a possible look to replace Matt Cooke as the third line winger…..Yes the Penguins have some potential problems there.
In a poll of scouts, I wrote about those concerns last week and one player not brought up was Pascal Dupuis. The Penguins boast the top line in hockey in Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis but could Dupuis biggest impact this season be eventually shifting to the third line?
It’s been discussed internally, sources say, and the X-factor for this to happen would be Beau Bennett. Could he become an immediate fit with Sidney Crosby? Many in the organization feel Bennett’s eventual best fit would be alongside Crosby on the right side and don’t be surprised if the coaching staff looks at using Dupuis on the third line and giving Bennett some time with Kunitz and Crosby on the top line at somepoint this season.
It would be hard for Bylsma to breakup 14-87-9, but Dupuis could become a significant asset to a questionable third line if Bennett were able to gel with Crosby.
Bennett figures to used in different spots on the top-three lines this season as expectations are high for him entering his season professional season. “We may see him in different spots,” Bylsma told reporters today at the Penguins annual golf outing. “We may see him play next to Malkin at times, may get an opportunity next to Crosby on the right side there.”