For D-zone purposes, some NHL coaches hate to play wingers on their off-wings. Dan Bylsma was not one of them.
James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Brian Gibbons were among the regulars last season to play on their off-wings. Jarome Iginla the previous season and so on.
It’s not a surprise to hear Predators coach Peter Laviolette plans to move James Neal back to left wing. Meanwhile, Penguins officials strongly feel for d-zone purposes, Beau Bennett needs to play on the right side.
The Penguins throughout their lineup have a number of wingers who can play both wings, Patric Hornqvist (RH), Pascal Dupuis (LH), Steve Downie (RH), Blake Comeau (RH), Beau Bennett (RH).
However, don’t be surprised if Johnston is less of a fan of playing wingers on their off-wings, though, there are situations where the Penguins are going to have to play wingers on their off-wings.
Talk in Penguins circles is the Penguins coaching staff will give these three line combinations a good look early into camp:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Beau Bennett/Kasperi Kapanen
Pascal Dupuis – Evgeni Malkin – Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling – Brandon Sutter – Steve Downie
As the Penguins coaching staff will look at a number of options in camp, the basis of their lines will be based off two sets of forwards primarily being together and building the lines from there:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – RW
LW – Evgeni Malkin – Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling – Brandon Sutter – RW
Blake Comeau – Marcel Goc – RW