Scouts Buzz: Penguins to have close eye on Sabres this month?
The Pittsburgh Penguins in their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions have one Achilles heel, the Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley pairing.
And it’s more Olli Maatta than anything.
Daley while not a good player in his own end, gives the Penguins more with his ability to skate where he’s a superior player in joining the rush, has a better first pass off the breakout and a stronger escape ability due to his skating ability. As Daley showed in last Tuesday night’s win vs the Predators, he still has a goal scorers type shot for a defenseman from the point after scoring 16 goals in 2014-2015 for the Stars.
Maatta meanwhile continues to show major physical limitations with his lack of skating ability, struggles to defend the net-front, and he doesn’t deal with pressure well against tenacious forechecking teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets which was the case this past Friday night. The tape was also not good in previous meetings vs Bruins and Blues who have a group of big power forwards.
The trap Maatta is also falling into is poor decision making with his reads, which is so key to his success as a stay-at-home defenseman.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan [hide] might be a disciple of John Tortorella but one thing he rarely does is be critical of his players through the public.
Sullivan praised the pairing on Saturday morning prior to the Blues game. Against the Blues the pairing went on to have a CF% under 30%.
“I think they’re a good pair,” Sullivan said. “Trevor’s a mobile guy that can join the rush and is really active with his mobility and his skating. Olli is a real smart player. More of a stay-at-home guy that defends pretty well and can make an outlet pass. We like the pairs that we have right now.”
The Penguins are locked into their top-2 pairs, Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang, Ian Cole – Justin Schultz.
22 Days until the trade deadline, the belief is the Penguins don’t see the Maatta-Daley as a major problem that they feel they have to make an upgrade but there’s still a couple things at play where a move could be made.
For one, the Penguins have made Maatta available to a few identified teams in an attempt to land a long-term forward, league sources confirm.
Two, the team has not called off their scouts to stop tracking potential defenseman on the trade market.
One team the Penguins are planning to keep tabs on this month is the Buffalo Sabres, sources say.
Pittsburgh had very strong interest in Cody Franson at the 2015 deadline but the player with specific interest is said to be defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a left shot defenseman who plays top-2 pairing minutes and is an outstanding skater.
The Penguins organization has been high on the former Panther Kulikov for a long-time. Kulikov was drafted by Penguins director of scouting Randy Sexton when Sexton was with the Panthers organization.
Multiple teams in the East, including the Canadiens have such a close eye on Kulikov this month because a back injury has hindered Kulikov for much of the season and his inconsistent play and sometimes poor fit in Dan Bylsma’s system while in a contract year has raised some flags with teams.
The Sabres asking price is expected to be a second round pick but some talk he could go for a third rounder.[/hide]
No GAME WINNER ASSIST update needed today 🙁
Sid first place in points. Pens must strip that C from his Jersey then trade him
Bonino and Kessel miserable tonight, Moreso Bonino. Like to see Guentzel center Kessel for a few games.
Still a good sign to see them come back in the third from 2 down and tie it. This game would have been a different story with a full lineup. Big kill in OT. Nice to see the young guys playing well. I just hope Sid waits until he comes to Glendale to pot his 1,000th
Observations… Crosby over holding the puck leads to the first goal. Murrays glove deficiency grows. Guys could have used Geno, could have used Sheary.
You kidding me when was the last time sid lost the puck at the blue line try never. How many times your Russian loses the puck on the blue line try almost every game specially in pp
He was guilty of it like a week to two ago too lol. Sid isn’t infallible and that’s one of his mistakes is over handling at the blue line. Geno would have added to the offence, they pushed to score two vs a dumpster fire team. A ppg guy would have absolutely helped.
He probably lost the puck because sam was tongue-punching his jock at the time. as usual.
To add to this, either Ferland is significantly faster than Crosby or Sid took a significant risk while somewhat exhausted on that shift. It’s probably the latter… it was a bad play by Sid all around. I didnt see the game and it seems like he had a strong game overall but those kind of plays kill. Gotta take teams like Calgary seriously at this time of the year.
Wish u can see malkin’s turnovers on the blue line first time sid does it and people here talking about while malkin does it often
10 years! this is the first time! I get that you like sid in a sexual way Fatty McFatt Fatt, but there’s no need to blatantly lie to people. Or is that in you frogs’ nature to just outright make things up?
“First time” lol. Guy is guilty of screwing up dude just deal with it. Thats part of the game and he made a big error last night. I am pretty sure he would be the 1st to admit it. He does it far more often than you will admit because you’re simply willfully ignorant about what you see. Malkin also makes these mistakes, I never said otherwise… that noted he wasnt on the ice last night so this is an utterly moot point, a non-sequitur style argument. Malkin being prone to over handling had ZERO to do with Crosbys poor… Read more »
Another loss to a backup goalie
Hate MAF all you want but he’s the best SO goalie all time… he probably wins this. Pens guilty of playing down to their opponent? Sam Bennett is a fucken pussy.
I’m not sure I would consider that the case. The pens are missing 3 if their top 6/9 forwards and Calgary is pushing for a playoff spot. I wouldn’t consider them a bad team. If they lose to the Avs, that’s a different story.
Was speaking to the shootout piece itself. Not taking a shot at Murray as much as tipping the hat to MAFs one on one history
For instance, watched the highlight on the Versteeg SO winner, he got in so tight and Murray watched him dance. MAF poke checks and despite yodas bizarre rationale as to how that should work, MAF is pretty good at this. Something I would want to learn better if I was Murray.
How does MAF win the shootout when none of the Pens players scored?
Typical dumb penalty by stupid frog. The rally killer strikes again. Him and his BO
What a nice play by Calgary amazing play by #4 and #28 of pens
So Julien gets the blame when he was forced to play rask often because backup goalies this season have only 1 victory. Good job Sweeney
He’s a frog, so I’m sure that didn’t help.
It’s true we need more overrated bone heads like DB around the league. League is in need of more frauds
At least he’s employed. The nhl is starting to realize the less frogs there are, the better.
Beat coaches been frogs or Canadians. Most frauds been Americans
GAME WINNER ASSIST UPDATE
Crosby and Schultz having good years as evidenced by the most important stat just southwest of Quebec City. Rust tied with Letang! Wow!
Crosby – 6
Schultz – 5
Malkin – 4
Kessel – 4
Cole – 3
Hornqvist – 3
Letang – 3
Rust – 3
5 tied w/ 2
9 tied w/ 1
A lot of expected names up there, but having Schultz and Cole up there is HUGE. Not many teams can say they have those types of players producing those types of numbers in the GWA category.
This is still my favourite section of this page lol
DePaoli, When are you going to disclose i am the source of all your column topics.
What a shame glaze that would come with. Even for DePaoli.
This time last year, Cole was a healthy scratch every day and Schultz was traded for a bag of nickels. Guys that have talent can turn it around if you hit he right triggers.
Tru dat, but they need a change of scenery.
DB is amazing at that. Look at sabres they look good on paper and the way they play is brutal to watch . They are only good to brawl somehow when that bone head coaches team it ends up playing dirty. Makes talent players become piece of shitss. he did same with pens that cockk suckerr