The Penguins have $4.7 million in cap space to work with. Their needs are:
*Third-line forwards. (That’s unless Teddy Blueger, Brandon Tanev and Zach Aston-Reese are the third-line. If so, the Penguins need fourth-line forwards.)
*A right-sided defenseman for the bottom pair. (That’s if you don’t trust Chad Ruhwedel, or trust Juuso Riikola to flip to the right side.)
*A backup goaltender. (That’s if you think Casey DeSmith can’t handle the workload that might come with a schedule that has lots of games packed into a short period, or if you think DeSmith is simply too small.)
But the primary need is forwards.
The top six is set: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Kasperi Kapanen, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker. (Kapanen and Rust would be third-line forwards with a lot of teams.) The Blueger line seems set, although Aston-Reese has to stay healthy and be consistent.
But after that, the Penguins have Jared McCann – who hasn’t scored in 25 games – along with Anthony Angello, Sam Lafferty and Colton Sceviour.
It’s almost enough to make you miss Dominik Simon. (Not quite.)
BTW, analytics geeks are rumbling that the Penguins would be well-served to bring back Simon and his pulsating metrics after casting him into unrestricted free agency by way of not making a qualifying offer.
Better the devil you know, right? Problem is, Simon is also the devil who never scores.
The Penguins are short on forwards. That’s an odd look for this franchise.
The Penguins want to play fast. To do that, you’ve got to be able to roll four lines. Right now, the Penguins are not adequately equipped.
Courtesy of Getty Images.