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Injury updates + a bad David Poile habit

March 4, 2019, 1:36 PM ET [202 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
There was some good news at Penguins practice today. Brian Dumoulin was skating with the team at practice in a non-contact jersey. The next step will be to get him with full contact. That will likely occur on Wednesday. Dumoulin could potentially be ready for Thursday’s huge game against Columbus.

Kris Letang and Olli Maatta both skated before practice. Encouraging to see their on-ice process starting.

Here were the forward lines from today

McCann-Crosby-Guentzel
ZAR-Malkin-Kessel
Simon-Bjugstad-Hornqvist
Blueger-Cullen-Wilson

I like trying out McCann with Sidney Crosby to see if he can play the speed role Dupuis did, but with better hands. If it works out it frees up Bryan Rust to provide depth in another area on the roster.

If the Malkin-Kessel duo is going to be used they are going to need Nick Bjugstad and Patrick Hornqvist to find some chemistry, chip in offensively, and/or be a great defensive line. The problem with giving McCann his promotion is it takes Hornqvist away from Crosby and Malkin. He isn’t going to be as successful away from those centers. Early returns aren’t great with Hornqvist when paired with Bjugstad. In their 36 minutes together they only own 44.78% of the shot attempts and Hornqvist has a 0.00 5v5 points per 60. No offense or defense. It is only 36 minutes so the experiment can’t be considered a total failure, yet.

****

This is off topic, but something I thought was interesting in regards to the Nashville Predators. David Poile has the record for most wins as a general manager in the history of the NHL. His Nashville Predators are one of the best teams in the league and have done a great job as an expansion franchise. However, Poile has yet to win a Stanley Cup despite all of the victories his teams have earned over the years. Variance can certainly spoil a general managers best laid plans, but what if the GM can’t shake a fixation of grit and toughness?

Poile has a track record of trading assets for big bodied and limited forwards at or around the trade deadline. He’s traded a first round pick for Paul Gaustad. He traded a first round pick for Ryan Hartman. This year he moved a second round pick for Brian Boyle and a conditional third for Wayne Simmonds. He has twice traded for Cody McLeod. He also intentionally acquired Brandon Bollig. With the margin for error so small when making a run at a Stanley Cup you have to wonder why he keeps going back to this well.

Mats Zuccarello was moved for a second and third round pick. Marcus Johansson was moved for a second and fourth. I can’t help but think that the skilled base approach wouldn’t do a lot more for their chances at winning four rounds. Given that David Poile has traded away his first round pick half the time since 2011 the Predators could have done worse than using this year’s top pick to pry Kevin Hayes out of New York rather than their main rival (WPG) getting him.

It’s something to think about if the Predators come up short again.

Thanks for reading!
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