Penguins Organizational Depth Chart Pre-Free Agency
Line 1: Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Line 2: Carl Hagelin – Nick Bonino – Phil Kessel
Line 3: Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Line 4: Tom Kuhnhackl – Eric Fehr – Scott Wilson
Kevin Porter – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney
Teddy Blueger – J.S. Dea – Daniel Sprong (injured)
Analysis: If Pittsburgh opts not to sign Matt Cullen, they could start the season with what they got and either move Eric Fehr to center, use Kevin Porter as a 13th forward, or move Oskar Sundqvist into the 4th line center role and keep Fehr on the wing.
Scott Wilson was the most impactful call up with the Penguins before breaking his ankle in early March and is ready for a full-time role. Despite Chris Kunitz mini-surge in the post-season where he played very well in the final two rounds, an ideal situation would have been moving him and his $3.85 million cap hit to clear a top-9 role for another younger player like Wilson or add via trade/free agency.
Kunitz, though, is extremely well liked in the room and the Penguins still value him. With his strong finish, the Penguins are fine with riding out his last season, though, his name has popped up in recent days.
There’s still some uncertainty at the left wing position and whether it’s sustainable Conor Sheary can be a full-time top-6 winger over the grind of an 82 game season. Winning the Stanley Cup, Pittsburgh can be patient and see how things play out.
Among prospects who could be pushing for a role next season,(other than Oskar Sundqvist) Josh Archibald could make some noise as a top call up option.
How Dominik Simon progresses in his second professional season will be closely watched. The 21 year old put up 25 goals in his first season in Wilkes Barre and flashed top-9 skill. There are some holes in his game and he must get better at handling the physicality of pro hockey. Leaves himself open to taking punishing hits.
The player a lot of eyes will be on is Jake Guentzel who the Penguins are enthusiastic about and viewed by some scouts as the organization’s top prospect. Team officials believe Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"