SUNDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ
— Many times the best trades are the trades you don’t make. Going down memory lane, Jonathan Bernier could be the Penguins No. 1 netminder right now and Marc Andre Fleury could not be.
Following a Fleury meltdown in the 2013 NHL playoffs, former Penguins GM Ray Shero made an attempt in June 2013 to acquire LA Kings backup goaltender (at the time) Jonathan Bernier who was the rave of the NHL and if the Penguins were able to acquire Bernier, the plan was to flip Fleury to the Minnesota Wild and go into the 2013-2014 season with Bernier as their young upside goaltender and the veteran Tomas Vokoun.
The move would have given the Penguins significant cap space to address other needs but boy where would the Penguins be right now if that scenario played out?
Bernier who was terrible again Saturday night with poor angles/positioning, showed why he’s one of the worst starting goaltenders in the NHL as the Penguins cruised to a 4-0 win.
Bernier giving up a deflating first period goal seconds after Fleury made a great point blank stop on Michael Grabner was so Bernier and the Penguins cruised to a 4-0 win from there.
— Eric Fehr was a force in his Penguins debut. Shorthanded goal and assist, he was dominant in all three zones. On Matt Cullen’s second period goal, Fehr made a great play on the boards in the d-zone leading to the goal. Fehr has a chance to evolve into one of the Penguins most important forwards this season.
He’s not Jordan Staal but the Penguins haven’t had a two-way forward with size and an all-around game like Fehr’s since Staal was traded in 2012. The only question is whether his body can hold up. Many NHL teams were scared to go more than one year this summer because they feel Fehr’s body has broken down and his lingering shoulder problem is going to continue to be a problem moving forward. Only reason he was still available in late July. Pittsburgh was the only multi-year offer Fehr’s agent Craig Oster received.
— Part-time [hide] Daniel Sprong moving forward? “With Spronger, he may not be in every night,” Mike Johnston said prior to Saturday’s game. “For a young guy, sometimes it’s good to take a look at the game from up top, get a couple days of practice. It’s not like he’s going to be in every game, but I feel like his game is really progressing. That’s what we wanted. We want to keep his game moving in the right direction.”
There’s no question Sprong’s play has been trending down of late.
— Sergei Plotnikov was back in the lineup Saturday night. There’s little offensive upside there but he might have looked the most comfortable he has all season in playing with someone (Fehr) who also plays a heavy game. Something that stood out.
For now the plan is for Sprong and Plotnikov to come in and out of the lineup for each other. Sending Plotnikov to the AHL is not likely to be an option because he has an out-clause in his contract if he’s not on an NHL roster.
— The Penguins won on the road for the just the second time in the Sidney Crosby era when Crosby had no points or no shots in a game.