Sheary’s skilled game has been missed more than the Penguins ever imagined
Conor Sheary with 6 goals on the season and the surging Buffalo Sabres come to town tonight against the floundering Penguins who have lost 8 of 9 and minus the club actually showing up in the third period vs the Senators Saturday night, this team is trending towards hitting rock bottom.
Sheary’s solid start to the season stings even more for the Penguins when it comes to how bad they botched the Sheary/Hunwick trade from turning the $5.25 million in cap space created into Jack Johnson/Riley Sheahan.
There’s no getting around that and another thought in the organization with the Sheary trade at the time was that the Penguins needed to move some forwards out to open spots for others.
That has also backfired big time on the Penguins.
As one NHL scout told me last week, the loss of Sheary has been more striking than the Penguins ever imagined it would be in that it forced Pittsburgh’s hand so early into the season to have to trade a player the coaches didn’t wanted trade in Carl Hagelin whose absence will make the Penguins easier to play against to get more skill in their lineup they lost with the Sheary trade.
If this eventually becomes a lost season and Pearson does not work out, Pittsburgh also took the risk of tying themselves to Pearson’s $3.75 million cap commitment for two more seasons when Hagelin’s $4 million cap hit would have been coming off the books.
Tonight the Penguins will dress a bottom-6 of:
Dominik Simon – Derek Grant – Daniel Sprong
Zach Aston-Reese — Riley Sheahan – Bryan Rust.
There’s one player in that group in Dominik Simon who has showed he can create 1-on-1 offense on a consistent basis.
You look at this roster and it’s badly lacking that youthfulness, energy type of presence that helped elevate them to Stanley Cup status when this roster was dragging so bad from 2014 to early part of 2016.
The Penguins have themselves to blame.
They failed to endorse opening a roster spot for Teddy Blueger by recycling Matt Cullen and then signing Derek Grant, and you even have to look at giving away someone like Josh Archibald last season who isn’t going to swing games for you by anymeans but is that type of energy/fore-checking speed presence this team desperately lacks and will even more so with Hagelin out of the picture.
With Matt Cullen out at least 3-4 weeks, Pittsburgh has to consider going the Teddy Blueger, Thomas DiPauli route in trying to get more speed, youthfulness in the lineup and quit throwing Riley Sheahan/Derek Grant out there.
There’s a reason Derek Grant was available in late July and cleared waivers.
— Where is the Matt Murray – Mike Sullivan relationship headed?
Murray who was pulled again Saturday night, will be by-passed tonight for a home start against the Sabres.
The coaching staff is beyond frustrated with Murray right now and a high level of frustration towards Murray has been how non-cholent he has been about his play. One feeling around the team right now is that Murray feels his performance this season is more predicated on the poor defensive play of the team in front of him than himself.
That notion is said to be driving the coaches Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Some good news for the Penguins.
Sidney Crosby took part in the morning skate and is headed in the right direction, Crosby said.
He won’t play tonight. [/hide]
— Mike Sullivan on losing Matt Cullen.
“I think Matt’s quietly played a solid game for us,” said Sullivan. “He’s a good penalty killer. He’s a good faceoff guy. I use his line in a lot of instances situationally. He tends to take a lot of defensive-zone starts, so he’s put in difficult situations.”Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"