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With A "Healthy" Roster Penguins Can Start To Evaluate What They Have

February 11, 2015, 8:47 AM ET [448 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Pittsburgh Penguins are back in game action tonight as they take on the visiting Detroit Red Wings.

This will be the healthiest the team has been in a long while with Blake Comeau all but certain to return either tonight or in the next few days.

The Penguins will be well tested against the Red Wings. They are 9-1 in their last 10 games and I believe they have the opportunity to get even better.

Detroit has a lot of things going for them. They have the best bench boss in the league. Their possession game is solid with the 7th ranked Score-Adjusted Fenwick of 53.2%, their PDO of 1005 means their success hasn’t been a product of luck, and they have above average goaltending with a team EVSV% of .930.

Special teams are also solid. They are the owners of the best power play in the league at 25.5% and the 9th best penalty killing unit at 83.5%

The scary part about Detroit for me is that they are inching closer towards being as good as those 2007-09 teams that the Penguins faithful know all too well. Trading for a puck moving defenseman like Andrej Sekera, Cody Franson, or Jeff Petry would launch Detroit as one of the favorites in the East.

The problem Detroit is going to have is that the asking prices are a little high right now.

Makes you appreciate the fact that the Penguins gave up a first round pick for a non-rental in David Perron.

Mark Acrobello was put on waivers and in a vacuum it isn’t a big deal but when you add up multiple moves where the Penguins move on from better possession players it does make a difference over time.

In his 10 games with the Penguins Arcobello actually leads the entire team on the year with a Score-Adjusted Fenwick of 60.0%.

He has an extremely low PDO of 977. Low PDO is one of the leading causes of being put on waivers.

He has more goals (8) than Nick Spaling (7) on the year.

Arcobello isn’t a world beater but you can say he is better than all three players on the 4th line and that is all that should matter. He only makes 600k and brings competent play to the table.

Craig Adams isn’t getting demoted, Maxim Lapierre was traded for, but we are still left to wonder what leverage Zach Sill has over anybody making the decisions in Pittsburgh.

Arcobello seems like he’d be an ideal 13th forward to keep around for a bit, but grit rules the day in the Penguins bottom six.

Could Beau Bennett be making his return to the lineup this evening? You’d have to think it will happen at some time. And if so will they *gasp* actually scratch Sill?

Now that the Penguins are as close to optimal health as they are going to be (without Dupuis/Maatta) we can finally start to see how they plan on allocating their depth and how it will look as we head towards the playoffs. These are important games because the front office will be making important decisions based on how the team does or doesn't do. Great test against Detroit tonight and Chicago on Sunday.

To put things into perspective the Penguins are 7-8-4 against Eastern Conference teams currently in a playoff spot.


It may be likely that the Penguins will move on from both Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff after the season is over.

The going rate for those type of players on the open market will be in that 6M range. It appears that is also going to be the case with Andrej Sekera.

I believe this range is also where you will find Cody Franson.

I think a player like Jeff Petry should be on the Penguins radar moving forward. Good possession guy on a terrible team in Edmonton. He should come in a little bit lower than some of those options given he doesn’t have quite the offensive upside as the other two.

The alternative would be for the Penguins to roll with Letang, Maatta, Pouliot, Despres, Harrington, and Scuderi (I would buy him out over the summer) next year. I suppose the way you feel about Harrington will dictate how comfortable you are with that grouping of six.

Thanks for reading!

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