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Training camp has arrived

September 22, 2022, 2:44 PM ET [30 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hockey is back in Pittsburgh. Training camp, as of this morning, has commenced.

The Penguins have a lot of their roster set already barring injuries. There are some depth spots up for grab as there usually are each season.

I don’t like to overanalyze the play by play tweets from training camp. I think it is a bit much. While preseason games are more useful we are still dealing with incredibly small sample sizes. Training camp is more about conditioning and getting back into the swing of the grind that is a professional hockey season than it is a definitive evaluation. That said, you might as well give your unknowns as much of a look as you can. I don’t want to see the normal lines you want to use in the regular season with returning players. I want as many different looks as possible. I don’t need to see Guentzel-Crosby-Rust or Zucker-Malkin-Rakell. We’ll see plenty of it in the regular season. Get creative with the WB/S guys and see who is closest to meeting the challenge. You can see who is drowning and a step behind. You then can single out a group of players who show signs of life.
I would want to find out what a player like Ryan Poehling can do. Put him with Crosby. Put him with Malkin and see if he can keep up. If he looks like a generic player and doesn’t embarrass himself then you probably have a depth player.

While the team isn’t using this specific example this morning they are doing something similar by placing Sidney Crosby with Valtteri Puustinen and Drake Caggiula with Evgeni Malkin.

Sam Poulin is one of the players who is going to have to show up and catch the attention of his coaches. While still young at the age of 21 he is a former first round pick and you’d like to have seen some better pro samples from him. The proper move would have been to trade him when his QMJHL numbers were juiced up during COVID, but that window has come and gone. Can he play himself into a depth role before Crosby and Malkin are done playing? I remain skeptical. This will be the time period where he has to make the jump if it is going to happen. He is now playing center.

Drew O’Connor probably deserves one of the roster spots based on merit. His issue is his contract status. He can be sent down to WB/S and it might work against him.

A lot more to come in the weeks to follow

Thanks for reading!
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