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Insider Only Penguins – Avs Fallout: Dominik Simon flashing legit NHL skilll; Parking 4th line on bench in tight games continues

Evaluators often believe a 6-8 game sample is a proper evaluating period for when it comes to young/inexperienced players on NHL call-ups who are not sure-fire NHL prospects. What scouts don’t much stock into is games 1 or 2 but how the player tracks after that initial adrenaline rush of a call-up.

For skilled players, though, I think you can put more stock into what you see right away, compared to players like Josh Archibald for example, whose games are built on speed and creating chaos with speed on the forecheck, ect.

Two NHL games this season has been enough of a small sample to declare that Dominik Simon has NHL talent and could become a factor for the Penguins if the coaching staff/management embrace more skill over playing a more trust worthy player in Tom Kuhnhackl, others.

What has been really impressive is Simon’s ability to make plays in open ice and the patience with the puck to be very creative in tight areas. The coaching staff has taken notice as Simon earned some shifts with Sidney Crosby in Monday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche, playing 5:13 with Crosby at even strength and was tied for the sixth most ice time among Penguin forwards in the third period.


— Pittsburgh fired 40 shots on goal vs the Av’s but ran into another situation in the third period of a 50-50 game where the coaches could only put 8-9 forwards on the ice.

Even Strength Ice for the Penguins 4th line in the third period:

Ryan Reaves | 1 Shift-1:09 |
Carl Hagelin | 1 Shift-0:56 |
Carter Rowney | 1 Shift-1:04 |

This continues to be a growing trend that has translated to horrid 5 vs 5 numbers.

And the Penguins have internal options to potentially fix this issue, just don’t expect it to happen as sources say GM Jim Rutherford wants to resign Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


Monday’s game highlighted Kris Letang’s season in a nutshell:

Great possession (5 vs 5) stats (25/10) and he remains Kris Letang like in getting the puck up to drive zone entries/offense but defensively he’s a train-wreck.

On the ice for a team-high 8 high danger chances during even strength play, Letang was also on the ice for a team-worst 5 high danger chances against among defensemen.

He was really good in certain spots and really bad.

This was another game where Letang was vulnerable on 1-on-1 plays at the blueline (disallowed goal) and he didn’t handle pressure well below the goal-line, leading to a couple big juicy turnovers.

Tristan Jarry had some big moments in bailing out his D, notably Letang.

The way Letang is getting beat to the outside on zone entries with forwards using their size to protect the puck effectively, you have to wonder if we’re seeing some physical limitations since the return from injury.


Fleury vs Murray Looking Likely

Matt Murray has been officially activated off injured reserve following a 5 game absence. Casey DeSmith was re-assigned.

Meanwhile Marc Andre Fleury will start for Vegas tonight and barring no setbacks from either, we’re going to see Fleury vs Murray Thursday night.

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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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