WILL BENNETT GET EXTENDED LOOK WITH CROSBY?
What’s wrong with Sidney Crosby? That’s something almost everyone is asking these days. It’s a combination of a number of things. Among them is age which is something that’s difficult for some Penguin fans to accept as three and half hours away Alex Ovechkin remains one of the most if not the most dominant player in hockey and he’s 30 years old.
What Crosby doesn’t have that Ovechkin has is one of the best shots ever in hockey. Crosby is a playmaker first, shooter second. It’s likely as Crosby gets into his 30’s, linemates are going to be more important than ever for the Penguins star center.
Right now there just hasn’t been a good mix.
Chris Kunitz is now a bottom-6 type player at this stage in his career, Patric Hornqvist is not skilled enough to get the puck to Crosby in key spots like Kunitz’ was so great at in the past, while Pascal Dupuis and Crosby have clicked at a 44% possession rate at even strength together. They have also not been effective together.
Crosby’s poor possession numbers have been a hot topic among NHL types. What scouts are saying is Crosby needs someone who can get him the puck in the middle of the ice and be able to attack the opposition with speed and authority through the neutral zone, a staple of Crosby’s game in the past.
Beau Bennett has his flaws as a player, but one of his biggest strength’s is how he see’s the ice. This talk that Crosby needs to play with mucker and grinder’s is a bad narrative.
Right now he needs someone who can create his own shot and actually gain the offensive zone without needing to dump the puck-in. Someone who’s willing to hold on to the puck to make a play. Those are two areas Bennett excels at (creativity/zone entries) and why this is a golden opportunity for Bennett. What remains to be seen is how much of a leash Bennett has. He’s a fourth year player who was a first round pick. It’s time for an extended look and see where it goes.
Evgeni Malkin when he scored 50 goals in 2011-2012, averaged 4.52 shots per game. With four goals in 14 games, Malkin is at a 23 goal pace this season. The bigger red flag is Malkin averaging just 2.35 shots per game.
2011-2012: 4.52 shots/G
2012-2013: 3.19 shots/G
2013-2014: 3.18 shots/G
2014-2015: 3.07 shots/G
2015-2016: 2.52 shots/G