Here we are, 3 days from Opening Night. GM Jim Rutherford has yet to pull the trigger on a deal to acquire an anchor (not the Hal Gill type of anchor) for the 3rd line.
Strength down the center has been the mantra of this Crosby-era Penguins franchise: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Sutter, Bonino, Cullen.
This year’s starting four in the middle: Crosby, Malkin, McKegg, Rowney.
I mean, really, you can’t complain with the first two on the list, but us Penguin fans have been a little spoiled as of late. Carter Rowney was a 27-year old rookie, who almost doubled his career NHL games played during the 2017 Stanley Cup run (oh, the Penguins won b-t-dubbs.) McKegg has a few more games played but on some much worse teams so maybe surrounded with some significant players, he can make an impact.
But I do not see McKegg keeping that 3rd line spot for long unless he lays a golden egg.
GMJR is on record as saying he has been keeping tabs on three centers from across the league. Names haven’t been confirmed, but one is suspected to be Riley Sheahan (read a tear jerking article from The Athletic on Riley.) Sheahan is looking to improve on last season’s abysmal showing (2G, 11A) which shouldn’t be that difficult.
My dark-horse pick is going to Adam Johnson. The undrafted college free agent signed a 2-year ELC with the Penguins after impressing in the annual Rookie Camp. He followed that with an impressive Rookie Tournament showing. Coach Sully gave him every chance to show what he has in the pre-season, loading his wings with legit NHL 3rd-liners. He was sent down to the minors, but if McKegg falters I would expect he gets the call.
Players to watch
Daniel Sprong – wicked shot, needs work defensively (didn’t Kessel come with the same description?)
Zach Aston-Reese – Hornqvist’s replacement, spent loads of time with Kessel/Malkin
Matt Murray – “To he honest, I feel like I’ve been quite average the past couple of years.”
The Athletic launches in Pittsburgh, steals writer from existing sports subscription service, then Montreal-based writer calls out Mario Lemieux over White House visit. Hilarity ensues.
New Logo – let me know what you think!