Penguins Are Top Heavy Again
The Penguins are having a tough time against other Metropolitan Division teams so far this year and a big reason for that is because teams like the Islanders and Rangers are really good. Although another big reason for the Penguins shortcomings is because of a problem that plagued the Ray Shero/Dan Bylsma led Penguins as well.
They are top heavy again. Now the difference between last year and this year is that injuries can own much of the blame for the current situation as opposed to roster construction, but the fact of the matter is that it is the Crosby and Malkin show and not much else since the calendar hit 2015.
In the seven games the Penguins have played in 2015 they have scored 23 goals. Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin have had a hand in 20 of them.
That comes out to 87% of the goals.
Crosby and Malkin are great, but they need help.
Getting Hornqvist and Comeau back will help. But guys like Brandon Sutter and Nick Spaling are supposed to be able to chip in and they haven't.
Nick Spaling consistently plays with the front runner for NHL MVP and comes up short. I don't blame him though because he should never be put in that spot. Steve Downie is a much better option as a top 6 tweener.
Brandon Sutter has one point in the seven games of 2015. That isn't good enough. Generating offense is how he has to make up for bad possession. He is not a shutdown center. When his offense goes dry you enter into liability territory. Against the New York Islanders, who in my opinion pose the biggest threat to the Penguins moving forward, Brandon Sutter had a Corsi for of 5 and a Corsi against of 25. That is unacceptable.
The fourth line has 0 percent chance of chipping in on a regular basis, the wingers are void of remedial puck skills.
So in the current moment you are left with a team that has a lot of the same issues that plagued the Penguins last year which is why you see similar results against the Rangers.
A fully healthy Penguins team has the potential to have a balanced attack, but being fully healthy seems like a bit of a pipe dream considering how things usually go for the team.
Barring no future trades and full health you could have Perron, Bennett, Hornqvist and Kunitz in the top six. that is really good.
It allows Downie, Comeau, Spaling, and Arcobello to have bottom six spots. Two of those players (Comeau, Downie) I believe can adequately play top six minutes in a pinch. This is a nice luxury to have.
There is nothing the Penguins can do about it but Pascal Dupuis' blood clot was a huge blow. Insert him into the equation and they are pretty much set.
Rutherford did a nice job rebuilding the abysmal forward depth Ray Shero left him with but I do believe the Penguins need to make a trade for another forward because of Dupuis' absence.
It does not have to be a top six forward, but they need a bit more depth if they want to make a serious run.
Robert Bortuzzo would be my candidate to move when making another minor deal for forward depth.
We have seen how the top heavy approach goes in the playoffs. Let's not do that again.
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