Penguins countdown to camp storylines — The right wing situation on Sidney Crosby’s line —

Mike Sullivan since he took over as head coach in December 2015 has always been a believer in spreading his lineup out among the top-3 lines.

The top priority in 2018-2019 is getting more production out of the bottom-6, the key area the Penguins brass believes doomed them last season, not Kris Letang or the goaltender.

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The New York Islanders have had a nightmare summer.

Islanders ownership made a rush move into hiring Lou Lamoriello in thinking it enhanced their chances to keeping John Tavares when the Lamoriello hiring actually decreased the Islanders chances of signing Tavares, those on the inside say.

They countered losing Tavares by signing Leo Komarov to a four-year contract, a washed up Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract and signed D Thomas Hickey to a four year deal.

There’s no way the Islanders will be a playoff contender in the Metropolitan Division with the loss of Tavares and failing to address the need for a two top-4 defenseman and a No.1 goaltender.

The Lamoriello hiring might have brought a needed presence to the organization but things are heading in the direction where the Islanders should be all-in on a mini-rebuild to set themselves up as a legitimate contender in 3-4 years when the arena situation might actually be settled and you can be a player for stars to want to stay.

Let the Capitals/Penguins wave ride out over the next couple years.

In the immediate future, the focus should be on acquiring high draft picks/prospects for the likes of pending UFA’s Jordan Eberle, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson.

The problem is that Lou Lamoriello is in his mid-70’s and he’s not wired like that.

A sleeper team in the Karlsson sweepstakes —

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— Multiple NHL executives peg the Columbus Blue Jackets as the most fascinating team to watch for the first six to eight weeks of the season. If the Blue Jackets get off to a great start, they’re prepared to go all-in and play out the season with Artemi Panarin who is leaving next summer.

If they’re a middle of the road team by Thanksgiving, all bets are off.

Among the individuals who will have a close eye on the Blue Jackets is UFA winger Rick Nash.

Nash has not ruled out returning to play at somepoint during the season and the player and his camp have remained in touch with 3-4 teams (mostly Eastern Conference clubs), all Cup contenders.

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