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Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: More skill needed around Cullen; Fehr being showcased to West teams? + Scouts Buzz


Western Conference teams scouting Fehr?

The expected return of Chris Kunitz tonight will see Tom Kuhnhackl come out of the lineup and Jake Guentzel remain in the press box.

Kunitz as expected will go right back into his second line role with Evgeni Malkin.

Prior to his injury, Kunitz had 9 points in his last 11 games. While his goal scoring ability is no longer of a top-6 winger, Kunitz still thinks the game so well and the little things he provides with zone entries and keeping plays alive remain strongly valued by this coaching staff.

Kunitz is still one of the Penguins best nine forwards.

The more pressing issue is the Penguins dressing the best 12 forwards as Pittsburgh’s depth scoring has not been good this season.

Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Eric Fehr, Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson have combined for 11 goals in 111 total games combined between the five. Jake Guentzel has 3 goals in five games.

With Bonino and Hagelin not producing like they did in the post-season, the Penguins are still not maximizing Matt Cullen who right now is a better offensive player than Bonino.

This lineup could become a lot more dangerous by putting more skill around Cullen. Eric Fehr just isn’t a good match to providing that.

With Guentzel looking out of the picture in top-6 for now with Kunitz back, there’s still a fit with Cullen there that wouldn’t hurt his development. Whether it happens remains to be seen.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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