PERSONNEL/LINES CHANGES TO BE MADE
The first personnel move the Penguins should make going into Monday’s game is calling up Simon Despres. He’s dominating in the AHL and, as explained in previous article, he’s one of the Penguins best six defensemen with Rob Scuderi sidelined and right now the Penguins don’t have the best 23 on the roster with Despres and also Jason Megna in the minors.
Despres should be up and playing over Deryk Engelland, Robert Bortuzzo and possibly even Matt Niskanen. The upside is there to make the Penguins a better team right now with Despres.
Here are some line changes I’d consider for now:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Beau Bennett
*Bennett is a top-6 talent and is getting lost offensively on the third line. Sidney Crosby is not scoring and Bennett’s excellent vision and play making ability to find Crosby in open space could be beneficial to Crosby. Worth a look right now. Bylsma doesn’t need to be married to the Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis line at this point in the season.
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
**I stick with this line a little bit longer as they have not had much time together and because Jussi Jokinen is just not an ideal fit on the third line, Malkin’s kind of stuck with him. Here’s an ugly number — Malkin (-8), Jokinen (-6) and Neal (-4) are a combined minus-18 on the season. Malkin might really need Kunitz but there’s no logic in taking him away from Sidney Crosby, the best player in the game.
Pascal Dupuis – Brandon Sutter – Jason Megna
*** I wrote prior to the season that Dupuis biggest impact on the season could be on the third line if Bennett were to mesh with Crosby. Sutter and Dupuis could be very good together. Megna adds speed and gets to pucks fast on the forecheck. He’s the best fit right now for the third line.
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
**** This has been a solid group together especially with the emergence of Tanner Glass. I keep them together with Adams possibly coming out every once in a while for a Sill/other young player to add some youth every once in a while.