SUNDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ
1. Evgeni Malkin has a bad bruise from blocking a shot vs the Calgary Flames last week. The injury is limiting him right now when he shoots the puck but further evaluation on Friday showed it’s nothing more than that.
There’s no reason to overanalyze the injury. He’ll be fine.
The Penguins have no long-term concern, though, why have him practicing like the Penguins did Saturday when Malkin admitted it bothers him to shoot and it’s expected the Penguins will hold him out for one more game and maybe a couple more after that as a precaution.
2. A pleasant surprise for the Penguins is winger Bryan Rust is a couple weeks ahead of schedule.
“Things are coming along quicker than expected,” Rust said on Saturday.
Rust at the time of his injury on Feb 9 was playing a first line role with Sidney Crosby.
He won’t be slotted right back there as Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary are going so well right now but Mike Sullivan is a fan of Rust with Crosby, sticking with the line prior to Rust injury during stretches when the line was bleeding shot attempts.
The interesting dynamic is if the Penguins keep Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary together, you’re looking at a depth chart on the right side with Sheary/Kessel/Hornqvist/Rust.
3. Scott Wilson has quietly been sneaky good in producing at even strength based on his minutes and teammates. Wilson has 23 even strength points (5v5) and ranks 5th on the team in Points/60 (5v5) with 2.02.
Conor Sheary – 3.07
Evgeni Malkin – 2.87
Sidney Crosby – 2.64
Jake Guentzel – 2.41
Scott Wilson – 2.02
4. Nick Bonino’s recent goal surge in March has him on pace to finish the season with 16 goals which would be the second most goals he’s scored in a season.
Nick Bonino | 69 GP | 14 Goals – 15 Assists – 29 Points
Brandon Sutter | 69 GP | 15 Goals – 14 Assists – 29 Points
Centers are always coveted at a high premium and coaches around the league love Bonino’s two-way game which could put him in contention to land a Brandon Sutter type contract (five year, $21.875 million contract) but some early surveying of Bonino’s market value and the feedback [hide] has been Bonino’s value being just under Patrick Berglund’s five year, $19.25 million extension he got from St. Louis.
5. On talk of the Penguins being a lock to protect Oskar Sundqvist in the expansion draft, some around the league have their doubts but believe if that’s the case, the Penguins are over-valuing Sundqvist.