Training Camp Buzz

The Pittsburgh quest for a three peat is officially underway as the team opened training camp today.

The early focus for the coaching staff in practices and the first couple preseason games will be giving young players playing time with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

With Patric Hornqvist sidelined for the start of camp, Crosby opened camp centering Dominik Simon and Jake Guentzel.

It’s a long way until opening night but it’s a nice opportunity for Simon to open some eyes early in camp.

Simon, 23, had 15 goals and 46 points in 70 games for Wilkes Barre, after a 25 goal season in 2015-2016. What the Penguins are intrigued about is the high-end puck skills.

He has very good vision and playmaking ability to create high danger chances.

The Penguins are locked in to play Jake Guentzel with Sidney Crosby but the team has an open mind on who the other winger will be.

Rutherford again today started he prefers to keep Guentzel with Crosby than move him to the third line center spot.

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The other notable line from the morning was Zach Aston-Reese getting reps with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Reese is a much different player than Simon or Daniel Sprong who both possess higher end skills.

Aston-Reese’s game is built more on being strong on the wall and getting to the net-front area. Malkin has had success with those type of players in the past as they can open ice for him down low. Aston-Reese’s puck skills are likely good enough to play at the NHL level but the major question mark is the skating ability. He has a slow first couple steps and reaction time with the puck needs to improve, scouts contend.

As the Penguins have a major hole down the middle in their bottom-6, the coaches may look to off-set that by spreading out the wingers where maybe you have a third line build around Conor Sheary To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!