WHERE DOES SIMON FIT?

posted by Mark Madden -

The Penguins signed wingers Daniel Sprong and Dominik Simon to two-year contracts, nipping their restricted free agency in the bud. They're still cheap: Each will make $750,000 per.

I see the sharpshooting Sprong as by far the more promising talent.

I wonder what the Penguins think. If last season is any indication, the coaching staff just loves them some Simon.

That's especially true of assistant coach Mark Recchi, who regards Simon as a pet project.

To date, the faith seems misguided.

In 33 regular-season games and eight playoff contests, Simon netted just four goals (none in the post-season). Simon had a few epic misses in the second-round loss to Washington, including a few when a goal would have helped immensely.

Simon, 23, spent many of his games on Sidney Crosby's line, which makes his lack of production all the more noteworthy.

Simon isn't a burner. His finishing is suspect. I don't see what the coaches see. Not yet.

The Penguins have a glut at right wing: Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, Bryan Rust and Sprong. That's also where Simon played when he skated with Crosby.

Simon could keep Sprong out of the lineup. He already has.

I don't see where Simon fits. I don't see how he cracks the lineup. Simon doesn't grind like a fourth-liner. He doesn't kill penalties.

But sometimes a coach just decides, "OK, this guy is going to play, period." Then dominoes fall.

Photo courtesy of GettyImages

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Mark Madden

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