Penguins Training Camp Buzz Day 1
Penguins Top Line on Day 1 of Camp:
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Dominik Kahun
The Penguins brass in studying film on Dominik Kahun prior to and after acquiring Kahun is a belief he has the offensive instincts to play with top-line players and be a complementary piece.
Kahun who produced 11 goals and 22 assists during 5 vs 5 play with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, played over 400 minutes with Jonathan Toews in 2018-2019
“Dominik is a guy that has really good offensive instincts,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said today. “He’s elusive, really quick, he’s good in tight spaces. We thought we’d try him with Sid and Jake and that’s where those guys excel.”
Kahun’s chances of actually starting the season on Sidney Crosby’s line will come down to the comfort level Crosby will have in Kahun.
Crosby puts a high priority on players who have strong offensive instincts that can think the game at a high-enough level and put themselves in position to be in the right spots. Hence, it’s a reason Dominik Simon has nine lives in getting top-line minutes from time to time.
And that’s going to be the key for Kahun.
Last year in camp Pittsburgh started Daniel Sprong on Crosby’s right wing and it was no secret around the team that Crosby felt Sprong never thought the game at a high enough level to being able to play with him and that plan was scrapped quite early.
Based on how the Penguins roster is constructed with no sure-fire top-6 wingers beyond Jake Guentzel, a revolving door on Sidney Crosby’s right wing will likely continue in 2019-2020.
“We have so many options with the roster that we have, we thought we’d start there and see where it goes,” Mike Sullivan said of starting Kahun with Crosby.
Speed has always been an important element in playing with Sidney Crosby and Crosby alluded to after day 1 of camp that it’s probably the “biggest thing” he looks for.
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Line 2: Brandon Tanev – Evgeni Malkin – Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk was always going to start on Evgeni Malkin’s wing, the question was always ‘who the other winger would be’.
When you’re just opening camp, you might as well try something new that saw Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev flank Malkin.
Galchenyuk is expected to get a very long-leash on Malkin’s wing where the team is going to give him every opportunity to stick as the second-line winger. What I’ve heard all summer from evaluators and those in the coaching hemisphere is that if Pittsburgh goes this route, the other winger has to be a defensive minded type winger who will also have do the dirty work for those two.
It’s early but you can see that with today’s groupings where it was either going to be Tanev or Bryan Rust that fit the mold, though, trying to play Tanev in a regular top-6 role is stretching things a bit.
If there’s a player, though, that Pittsburgh should be getting extensive time with Malkin in camp it’s Jared McCann. The two played just 11 minutes together during 5-on-5 situations in the regular season and McCann stands out as the ideal winger with speed, physicality and a puck-hunting ability that an Evgeni Malkin needs on his line at age 33. We’ll see if the coaches go that route.
Malkin, as expected, was the buzz of day 1 from a media perspective as the talk of him being re-energized and in the ‘best shape of his life’ is a narrative being strongly pushed from all corners.
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Pettersson made it a priority to be in the U.S. ahead of signing his deal as both sides waited until the last minute to see if a longer-term deal was going to be possible. Two industry sources confirm a four year deal worth just north of Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"