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Insider Only Could Sidney Crosby benefit from having a two-way defensive minded winger on his wing?

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What’s wrong with Sidney Crosby? In Today’s NHL, going four games without a point is going to happen to some of the best in the game but even the biggest Crosby supporters can’t deny, he’s not meeting the eye test right now.

Two areas standout right now.

1. He’s not shooting the puck like someone who has great confidence in his shot. Pucks are not lifting off Crosby’s stick and that’s the first sign of a player who has some doubt with his shot unless he is hiding an injury which is not believed to be the case.

Crosby’s ability as a goal scorer has been plunging since the 2011-2012 season after emerging as one of the games premier goal scorers in 09-10, 10-11.

Should high 20’s, low 30 goal seasons be the expectation from now on?

Since 11-12, Crosby has averaged 0.40 goals per game, which averages out to 33 goals over a full season (82 games). A good argument can be made that Crosby and Evgeni Malkin should be more consistent 40+ goal scorers but anything more than 36, 37 goals this season from Crosby can be looked at as exceeding expectations based on his goal production the last four seasons.

2. Some in Crosby’s inner circle last season felt the increased defensive responsibilities led to a down year from Sidney Crosby standards. It’s starting to become an interesting dynamic.

Three straight games with a CF% in the negative at even strength, is there a need for a two-way defensive minded forward to play with Crosby to alleviate some of the increased defensive responsibilities Crosby has endured under Mike Johnston’s system?

Phil Kessel is never going to be someone who plays his own end well and Chris Kunitz isn’t winning a selke anytime soon. Crosby has to do a lot in his own end to cover for those two.

This is where Pascal Dupuis becomes an ideal option if he can stay healthy but Nick Bonino while limited time playing wing in his career, is very intriguing.

Some scouts have felt Bonino could easily transition to wing.

Once Eric Fehr is back, the Penguins will have the flexibility to get creative but right now the pickings are slim as the Penguins have a left wing problem with many of their forwards better on the right side.

As for Fehr, Jim Rutherford mentioned in the summer he felt Eric Fehr could play wing in the top-6. Fehr has been primarily a center and right wing in his career, though, former Capitals coach Adam Oates used Fehr at 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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