Toronto @ Pittsburgh
1. Luca Caputi – Dan Bylsma deserves a lot of praise for the way he has used top prospects Luca Caputi and Eric Tangradi.
Tangradi skated with Sidney Crosby in the Penguins pre-season opener and tonight Caputi will skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin.
It’s a little move that will only help Caputi’s development. Playing Caputi on the 3rd or 4th line does nothing for him.
Caputi’s game is driving to the net and that is where he is going to score a lot of his goals. Caputi is also excellent on the fore-check.
What he needs to show tonight is the ability to make a play for himself and how he reacts when pressured by a defender.
A knock on Caputi has been turning the puck over when when entering the offensive zone.
*Caputi’s linemates will be Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin tonight.
2. LW Konstantin Pushkarev – On a tryout invite Pushkarev will have to make his mark early. Scouts, insiders I’ve talked too, call Pushkarev a practice player.
He’s the kind of player who stands out in practice but when it comes to the games, doesn’t produce.
Has great velocity on his shot and is aggressive in the offensive zone. Could fit in well on a line with Nick Johnson.
Needs to show a commitment in the defensive zone.
3. D Chris Lee
A long shot but nonetheless, in the mix for the #7 defenseman spot. Has good awarness, intercepts a lot of passes. He’s a player that’s caught my eye at times but I don’t see him making the roster.
4. D Ben Lovejoy – Was regarded as being the front runner to win the No.7 spot in camp. Not the case anymore but that’s not a knock on his play in camp. Pittsburgh wants him to get first unit minutes. He’s on the verge of being NHL ready. What the Penguins have to decide is whether it’s worth having him sit most nights.
5. D Nate Guenin – Has been the surprise of camp. Performed very well last night alongside Sergei Gonchar. He’s jumped out as the front runner to win the No.7 spot.