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Penguins leaf a lot to be desired

November 4, 2018, 8:57 AM ET [55 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
After winning three in a row the Penguins have now lost three in a row. Against the Islanders the Penguins outplayed New York in one game and had an evenly played game in the other. Last night they were dominated from the start.

Nothing went right for Pittsburgh. Even the power play looked bad for them in this one. Evgeni Malkin didn’t find the score sheet. That’s how bad things were.

Right now if the stars aren’t producing then the Penguins aren’t winning. The depth players haven’t done their part. Some of this has to do with Derick Brassard’s situation. Whether he’s on the wing or injured it doesn’t leave the bottom six much to work with. Riley Sheahan isn’t a consistent third line center and Matt Cullen isn’t an NHL player anymore. Offensive potential for the bottom 6 with a Sheahan/Cullen combo at center is not good enough for a team that wants to contend for best in the league.

Remember the outrage about acquiring Jarome Iginla being played out of position and what an idiot Dan Bylsma was? Well… I don’t see much difference in the two situations except that the Penguins gave up more for Brassard.

Another area of concern to track is Patric Hornqvist’s situation. He’s a 44% possession player this year and for the first time in his Penguins career Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are not his two most common centers. To this point it has been Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen. Hornqvist is a complimentary player with a very defined skill set. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin did all of the heavy lifting in transition to get Hornqvist opportunities to showcase his defined skill set. If he’s not going to play with Crosby and Malkin where does that leave his value to the team at a 5.3M cap hit? The only non-Crosby/Malkin option left is to keep Brassard at center and put Hornqvist on his right side. Otherwise you have a player who won’t be in front of the other team’s net all that often because controlled zone exits and entries aren’t a given anymore without 87 and 71.

Jack Johnson update has him with no points at even-strength and the highest CA/60 among regular defenseman at 63.73. I can’t remember was he good offensively or defensively? The narratives are tough to keep track of when trying to artificially prop up a player’s worth.

Tomorrow the Penguins will get the Devils and after that the rival Washington Capitals.

Thanks for reading!
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