Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Latest Buzz on Zach Boychuk Waiver claim: Is it “top-6 or bust” in Pittsburgh?

The Penguins addition of Zach Boychuk adds competition at the forward position and the injury to Matt Niskanen gives them the option of carrying 14 forwards for the next couple weeks. Carrying 14 forwards and 7 defensemen is actually something the Penguins eventually want to get to full-time at somepoint this season.
“He’s a guy who {was} first round pick, got speed to his game, and got limited NHL experience but is going to add some competition to our lineup and could see time on Malkin line on that wing and see him in that position, {add} speed and some grit to that line,” head coach Dan Bylsma said today of Boychuk.
With Boychuk’s speed and Bylsma’s comment of Boychuk adding grit makes it seem on the surface that Boychuk could also fit as a top-9 forward on the third line but scouts I’ve heard from so far indicate it’s likely “top-6 or bust” for Boychuk in Pittsburgh. “He plays smaller than his size,” an NHL evaluator said when asked about whether Boychuk could come in and push a Tyler Kennedy for playing time on the third line. Therefore, the feeling seems to be he either becomes a fit in the top-2 lines or his stay is probably going to be a short one in Pittsburgh as the Hurricanes intend to reclaim him were the Penguins try to place him on waivers at somepoint.
Boychuk’s tenure in Carolina came to an end because of depth at left wing and because the team only saw him as a fit in a top-2 line role and he never developed into that player yet as the skill set he’s shown in the AHL hasn’t translated to NHL speed and it might never.
“With us, it was his consistency,” Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford told the NewsandObserver. “We feel for him to be successful he needs to play in the top six and he just didn’t get to that level with us yet.”
For a team like the Penguins that looks flat, If Boychuk comes in and plays well, the addition could be a wakeup call for some struggling Penguin forwards.

Robert Bortuzzo joining the lineup isn’t because of an injury. {Ben} “Lovejoy is able to play tonight,” Bylsma said. The buzz is Lovejoy’s sitting and if Bortuzzo can gain enough trust with the coaching staff over the next couple weeks, Lovejoy is really going to be on the bubble for when Matt Niskanen is back healthy.
Tyler Kennedy was back on the third line with Matt Cooke and Brandon Sutter this morning.
— Less than two weeks of being on the Islanders team, former Penguin defenseman Brian Strait has agreed to a 3 year, $2.325 million contract. What a month for him but only the Islanders would sign a player to a three year contract who’s not yet an established NHL player.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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