No thought put into tonight's lineup
There’s some good news and some bad news coming from the morning skate today. The good news is that Evgeni Malkin looks to be making his return to the lineup tonight. The bad news is that Justin Schultz is not
Edit: Kessel is actually playing on the left wing. Hello Jarome Iginla.
It’s great having Malkin back, but I’m not sure I’m on board with how this lineup looks. The issue with Patric Hornqvist is unless he is in the top six it doesn’t make sense to pay him the money. Playing on a fourth line with Matt Cullen makes no sense.
Teddy Blueger should not sit for Matt Cullen. The day Matt Cullen re-signed with Pittsburgh you knew he would take roster spots from better players, even if it was on the outskirts of the lineup. All the pieces matter if your goal is to win it all.
The Penguins are seemingly going to run Jared McCann out there as their third line center instead of Nick Bjugstad. Having Bjugstad on the wing creates a weird dynamic with mismatched parts.
I’m not sure what you do with this lineup. At the very least you need to have Hornqvist on the third line instead of Tanner Pearson who has been a bust. Move Simon to the left wing and have Pearson play on the fourth line. If Bjugstad on the wing is going to be a thing then maximize the hell out of it
This isn’t an easy group to find spots for. You either have guys like McCann probably being cast in a role too big for them and also having players on their off wings. It is a weird construction. It is made worse when the bad players are given automatic spots in the lineup every night (Johnson/Cullen).
Until Justin Schultz is back the Penguins defense group isn’t going to be very good. Splitting Dumoulin-Letang while keeping Johnson in a top four role is asinine. This is such a bad looking lineup.
It gets worse
The Penguins power play has always turned the puck over. Not playing the best personnel isn’t going to help things. It just means you aren’t maximizing your chances of scoring goals. I hate the split personnel look. It’s dopey. Phil Kessel is a huge part of why the Penguins have one of the best power plays in the league. Taking him off the first unit is ludicrous.
Appeal to authority, I suppose
Thanks for reading!