2018 Summer Game Plan

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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Jim on Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:48 am

longtimefan wrote:Top 20 defensman currently per the NHL Network. Sure to stir some disagreement on here with Letang coming in at #13. The perception of the main stream national media is much different than the perception of many on these boards.

https://www.nhl.com/news/top-20-defense ... =290583266


Carlson at #8 is a bigger ? for me than Letang at #13.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby penny lane on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:40 am

All of those predator D couldn't fix Pekka Rinne.
Another person with opinions wrote a list. :D
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby FLPensFan on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:01 am

Jim wrote:
longtimefan wrote:Top 20 defensman currently per the NHL Network. Sure to stir some disagreement on here with Letang coming in at #13. The perception of the main stream national media is much different than the perception of many on these boards.

https://www.nhl.com/news/top-20-defense ... =290583266


Carlson at #8 is a bigger ? for me than Letang at #13.

My problem is, some of these guys aren't, you know....very good at defense. So much emphasis is put on offense these days people forget what a defenseman's job is.

- Karlsson has had only 1 or 2 decent years, his most recent, at being defensively sound. In all his other previous seasons, he was nothing special in his own end. Ottawa was really bad last year, but he was a -25. Codi Ceci was a -27. Those 2 were on the ice for the most goals against at even strength for any defenseman in the league. (Kris Letang was on the ice for 4th most with 76).

- Brent Burns was a -16 last year. Of defenseman that played at least 60 games for SJ last year, 3 guys had positve plus/minus, tops being a plus 13. Burns was worst on the team at -16. Nobody else on SJ was a double digit minus (this is when plus minus is still useful and does tell a meaningful story)

I have said for that NHL really needs a better way to measure a defenseman's defensive abilities, and should create an award for the best defensive defenseman in the league. The Norris Trophy can go to the best defensive defenseman. Make the Paul Coffey award go to the best offensive defenseman......cause Coffey wasn't very good in his own end either.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Cow_Master66 on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:42 am

Daniel wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:
Daniel wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:
Great58 wrote:I agree that the Pens current farm system is depleted by their success, both by their call ups but also by their trade of draft picks for current NHL talent in their win-now mode AND their late round draft position over the past few drafts. That will deplete any cupboard. That they aren't in the bottom grouping of talent for the farm system is kind of remarkable. I do hedge just a bit when I think how many of their recent NHL successes came from NCCA players making the transition, so was that a success of their farm system? I guess guys like Jake and Rust polished their game in WBS for a bit, so sure?

Jake and Rusty were both Penguins draft picks, though. Both of them went through the system. Jake for a much shorter period of time than Rust, though. I think for those guys, they just got to grow up a bit before getting to WBS, probably accelerating their growth.....and I wouldn't doubt that the Penguins are in contact with teams that have their drafted players playing in college. They don't have as much as in what they do, but I still do believe they have people in the organization that talk to the NCAA coaches.

The Penguins have still been pretty bad with developing higher end guys, especially defense. Despres, Morrow, and Pouiot were supposed to be three young mainstays, and all 3 were misses for the organization. Maatta played a whole 3 playoff games for WBS. Dumoulin played 3 years in WBS before getting to the NHL, after being acquired from Carolina. Bortuzzo developed OK, but he isn't top 4 talent. Muzzin was another miss for the Penguins. Samuelsson was another earlier round miss. Harrington was a miss. Connor Hall was a miss.

While it is still early for a lot of them, the Penguins haven't had a defenseman from the past SIX NHL drafts make it to the NHL. The Pouliot/Maatta/Dumoulin class is the last year a Penguin drafted defenseman made it to the NHL.




While I will agree the Pens haven't developed a top end offensive defensemen, they have developed some pretty steady ones.

Muzzin and Hall were only misses because of injuries, not really misses by the Pens. Harrington got the Pens Kessel, not really a miss for the Pens (miss for Toronto, but who cares).

Like the forwards, have the Pens really needed to develop a high end offensive defensemen? With Schultz and Letang, where would they play? I don't think the Pens really need a top end defensemen for the next season or two. NOW, if they need one in a year or to and don't have one, that's an entirely different discussion. There is still time for Lauzon or Addison to develop.

But they had to go out and GET Schultz. They got lucky in that in only cost them a 3rd, but if Despres, Pouliot, or Morrow had been good at all, they might not have needed to get Schultz. I still contend that on the ice, Despres was very solid. I think the off the ice issues were the problems. I had also heard Madden referring to Pouliot a few weeks ago as someone who apparently liked to smoke and toke, which may have been more of a behind the scenes reason why he never worked out or wore out his welcome.

Harrington's still a miss. He didn't work out for anyone. He's played less than 80 NHL games.


I honestly think Despres was the Pens fault, but Pouliot wasn't. Despres just never got a good chance and that might have caused the off ice problems. I think Pouliot getting caught drunk and acting immature when he got sent down sealed his fate.



The Despres trade is a weird one...I thought, and still think, they traded him a few months early as he had just turned the corner (on the ice at least, I can't speak to off) and was starting to become a consistent contributor and a difference maker...

Having said that, Lovejoy helped us win a cup so there's really no argument to be made that the trade was a mistake :thumb:
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Daniel on Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:07 pm

Cow_Master66 wrote:The Despres trade is a weird one...I thought, and still think, they traded him a few months early as he had just turned the corner (on the ice at least, I can't speak to off) and was starting to become a consistent contributor and a difference maker...

Having said that, Lovejoy helped us win a cup so there's really no argument to be made that the trade was a mistake :thumb:


One could actually make the argument that neither Despres or Harrington were busts since they got Lovejoy/Kessel/2 Cups. In the end, prospects are assets, so from that perspective both were good draft picks.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Cow_Master66 on Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:36 pm

Daniel wrote:
Cow_Master66 wrote:The Despres trade is a weird one...I thought, and still think, they traded him a few months early as he had just turned the corner (on the ice at least, I can't speak to off) and was starting to become a consistent contributor and a difference maker...

Having said that, Lovejoy helped us win a cup so there's really no argument to be made that the trade was a mistake :thumb:


One could actually make the argument that neither Despres or Harrington were busts since they got Lovejoy/Kessel/2 Cups. In the end, prospects are assets, so from that perspective both were good draft picks.


Agree on the assets part as they truly are nothing more, but Despres for Lovejoy was straight up while Harrington wasn't even the most valued asset in the Kessel trade...But, looking back I'm happy with both...

Kaspar is a player but I'll take the 2(+?) cups anyday!
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Malkintent on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:26 pm

Jim wrote:
longtimefan wrote:Top 20 defensman currently per the NHL Network. Sure to stir some disagreement on here with Letang coming in at #13. The perception of the main stream national media is much different than the perception of many on these boards.

https://www.nhl.com/news/top-20-defense ... =290583266


Carlson at #8 is a bigger ? for me than Letang at #13.

Where would you put him?
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Cow_Master66 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:15 am

Malkintent wrote:
Jim wrote:
longtimefan wrote:Top 20 defensman currently per the NHL Network. Sure to stir some disagreement on here with Letang coming in at #13. The perception of the main stream national media is much different than the perception of many on these boards.

https://www.nhl.com/news/top-20-defense ... =290583266


Carlson at #8 is a bigger ? for me than Letang at #13.

Where would you put him?


These lists are stupid but I would personally have OEL and Gostisbehere moved up (not necessarily ahead of Carlson as he's really come into his own)...Kinda feel like DBuf should be higher as well because of how he dictates pace and the attention he draws, but again, who really cares :fist:
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:17 pm

Predators ink Ryan Ellis to 8 year deal worth 6.25M AAV. Good deal for the Preds.....thought he might come in a little higher than that.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby thehockeyguru on Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:56 pm

FLPensFan wrote:Predators ink Ryan Ellis to 8 year deal worth 6.25M AAV. Good deal for the Preds.....thought he might come in a little higher than that.


Wow. I cant believe that deal, great signing for Nashville.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Malkintent on Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:32 pm

I have a hard time giving too much praise to any dman who's been moved to wing.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby thehockeyguru on Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:13 pm

Malkintent wrote:I have a hard time giving too much praise to any dman who's been moved to wing.


He's in elite company then with the likes of Kris Letang, Derek Engellend and Ian Moran
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby LimerickPensFan on Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:09 am

DK has a piece today that basically summarizes why he thinks JR made the moves he did this summer, and that was to add size and grit.

From here (pay site): https://www.dkpittsburghsports.com/2018/08/16/penguins-physical-pushing/

All of that’s accurate. But then, in short order, Rutherford went about doing the following:

• Signed Jack Johnson, who, for all his many flaws, has ranked among the NHL’s hit leaders over the past decade with 1,101. He loves the action, especially when assigned to pound on a single opponent. (Ask one of his best buds, his new captain.)

• Dumped the contracts of Conor Sheary and Matt Hunwick to the Sabres, moving their forward most likely to be knocked off his skates, and a miserable mistake of a signing in a mobile defensemen whose idea of mobility was a headless-chicken approach to defensive zone coverage.

• Kept 6-7, 255-pound Jamie Oleksiak as a restricted free agent through a seriously dedicated three-year, $6.4 million extension.

• Surprisingly signed a seventh center to his NHL depth chart in Derek Grant, a 12-goal guy for the Ducks last season who stands 6-3, 215

• Brought back Matt Cullen. And don’t dare laugh at this one. Because while Cullen’s 41, he’ll get his fingernails filthy, and he’s still got one of the most, um, active sticks in the game. He’s long been able to carve up his own space on the ice.

And that’s really what I like most about this, even if, after all of this, Rutherford still downplayed that getting more physical was ever part of his plan. I like the idea of carving up that space.


What I like about this is he's doing it in a way that Sullivan can't dismantle like he did with Reaves.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby theblackarts on Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:59 am

It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Jim on Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:19 am

theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


Well, Vegas also traded for Reaves at the deadline...

As everyone likes to whine about, the stars of this team are heading past 30... maybe they are getting mentally tired of the physical abuse that they face all of the time (that the refs ignore) not to mention the physical wear of being taken advantage of physically all of the time. I know most people have no concept of what physicality actually is, but Crosby, Malkin, Lemieux and Rutherford do.

The team needs to adjust around it's core. Reality is not a video game where mental and physical wear doesn't affect outcome.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby theblackarts on Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:56 am

Jim wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


Well, Vegas also traded for Reaves at the deadline...

As everyone likes to whine about, the stars of this team are heading past 30... maybe they are getting mentally tired of the physical abuse that they face all of the time (that the refs ignore) not to mention the physical wear of being taken advantage of physically all of the time. I know most people have no concept of what physicality actually is, but Crosby, Malkin, Lemieux and Rutherford do.

The team needs to adjust around it's core. Reality is not a video game where mental and physical wear doesn't affect outcome.


Yeah for sure, I totally get that. It just seems like the coach and GM would be on the same page about that stuff if it were the case. The reaves situ makes me think that Sullivan still wants the speedy version of the team.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Puck-Lurker on Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:24 pm

theblackarts wrote:
Jim wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


Well, Vegas also traded for Reaves at the deadline...

As everyone likes to whine about, the stars of this team are heading past 30... maybe they are getting mentally tired of the physical abuse that they face all of the time (that the refs ignore) not to mention the physical wear of being taken advantage of physically all of the time. I know most people have no concept of what physicality actually is, but Crosby, Malkin, Lemieux and Rutherford do.

The team needs to adjust around it's core. Reality is not a video game where mental and physical wear doesn't affect outcome.


Yeah for sure, I totally get that. It just seems like the coach and GM would be on the same page about that stuff if it were the case. The reaves situ makes me think that Sullivan still wants the speedy version of the team.

Makes one wonder about the Simon love affair.

Guentzel, Hagelin, ZAR, Cullen. #12 becomes 5LW on my depth chart. Though for asset management ZAR should get a bump down. If any of the other WBS pan out (Blueger, DiPauli, Johnson), Simon can be easily traded for a pick or waived when an improvement becomes necessary.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Hatrick on Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:21 pm

Puck-Lurker wrote:
theblackarts wrote:
Jim wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


Well, Vegas also traded for Reaves at the deadline...

As everyone likes to whine about, the stars of this team are heading past 30... maybe they are getting mentally tired of the physical abuse that they face all of the time (that the refs ignore) not to mention the physical wear of being taken advantage of physically all of the time. I know most people have no concept of what physicality actually is, but Crosby, Malkin, Lemieux and Rutherford do.

The team needs to adjust around it's core. Reality is not a video game where mental and physical wear doesn't affect outcome.


Yeah for sure, I totally get that. It just seems like the coach and GM would be on the same page about that stuff if it were the case. The reaves situ makes me think that Sullivan still wants the speedy version of the team.

Makes one wonder about the Simon love affair.

Guentzel, Hagelin, ZAR, Cullen. #12 becomes 5LW on my depth chart. Though for asset management ZAR should get a bump down. If any of the other WBS pan out (Blueger, DiPauli, Johnson), Simon can be easily traded for a pick or waived when an improvement becomes necessary.

agree completely, because ZAR can be sent down he might which would leave room for Sullivan to insert simon probably although he could also choose somebody like hayes and have rust move to LW but we will see how it ends up working out, probably something to be decided in camp and early on in the season.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby longtimefan on Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:30 pm

theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


After the Pens won the Cup in 2016, people assumed they'd draft small, fast forwards. More of the same. They had been dominant through the playoffs. Instead, they leaned towards size, muscle, and grit. JR's answer was simple. Because things will change.

The NHL has always been a copycat league. Going back to the broad street bullies being a direct response to the big bad bruins. Detroit and the Pens won with a lot of skill, as did Chicago. But Boston and Los Angeles won with size and goaltending.

If you win the cup, people are not only going to copy you, they will also devise ways to counter you. I think the Caps were a stronger team in '16 and '17 then last season. They were forced to play some of their kids who they hadn't trusted, and sign 4th liners like Smith-Pelley. They also were aware that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were the favorites, and knew they had a tough time keeping up. So they kept their core and surrounded it with more speed to keep up. Once they neutralized that, their advantage physically became pronounced. Now it's time to counter act the counter by bringing in players who can still skate, but also add size. Johnson, Cullen, Hayes, Grant. All over 200 lbs. They still intend to skate, but they want to be able to play the heavy game a bit better when necessary.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby theblackarts on Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:21 pm

longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


After the Pens won the Cup in 2016, people assumed they'd draft small, fast forwards. More of the same. They had been dominant through the playoffs. Instead, they leaned towards size, muscle, and grit. JR's answer was simple. Because things will change.

The NHL has always been a copycat league. Going back to the broad street bullies being a direct response to the big bad bruins. Detroit and the Pens won with a lot of skill, as did Chicago. But Boston and Los Angeles won with size and goaltending.

If you win the cup, people are not only going to copy you, they will also devise ways to counter you. I think the Caps were a stronger team in '16 and '17 then last season. They were forced to play some of their kids who they hadn't trusted, and sign 4th liners like Smith-Pelley. They also were aware that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were the favorites, and knew they had a tough time keeping up. So they kept their core and surrounded it with more speed to keep up. Once they neutralized that, their advantage physically became pronounced. Now it's time to counter act the counter by bringing in players who can still skate, but also add size. Johnson, Cullen, Hayes, Grant. All over 200 lbs. They still intend to skate, but they want to be able to play the heavy game a bit better when necessary.


Yeah, and I get all of that, but it seems a bit odd to have JR and MS on different pages, while Crosby and Malkin are getting older, and contracts are ticking. Like, if MS isn't going to play the guys that JR signs, should JR just sign more speedy guys? Seems like if you're going to make that shift toward muscle, you have more off-seasons like this one where you bring in four guys, not just Reaves, who seemed like more a statement acquisition than a practical one. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having size and being able to combat the copy cat teams, which will have to happen at some point, but it doesn't seem like we're doing it in a very efficient way given the Crosby/Malkin window. I think we were exhausted last year, didn't look anything like previous cup teams; so I don't think it was exactly a sign of our formula not working. Perhaps we're admitting that we're an older team and not able to play the speed game/get beat up for 100 games per year... I'm not sure. I think we're trending up though, if only because of real depth.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby longtimefan on Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:13 am

theblackarts wrote:
longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


After the Pens won the Cup in 2016, people assumed they'd draft small, fast forwards. More of the same. They had been dominant through the playoffs. Instead, they leaned towards size, muscle, and grit. JR's answer was simple. Because things will change.

The NHL has always been a copycat league. Going back to the broad street bullies being a direct response to the big bad bruins. Detroit and the Pens won with a lot of skill, as did Chicago. But Boston and Los Angeles won with size and goaltending.

If you win the cup, people are not only going to copy you, they will also devise ways to counter you. I think the Caps were a stronger team in '16 and '17 then last season. They were forced to play some of their kids who they hadn't trusted, and sign 4th liners like Smith-Pelley. They also were aware that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were the favorites, and knew they had a tough time keeping up. So they kept their core and surrounded it with more speed to keep up. Once they neutralized that, their advantage physically became pronounced. Now it's time to counter act the counter by bringing in players who can still skate, but also add size. Johnson, Cullen, Hayes, Grant. All over 200 lbs. They still intend to skate, but they want to be able to play the heavy game a bit better when necessary.


Yeah, and I get all of that, but it seems a bit odd to have JR and MS on different pages, while Crosby and Malkin are getting older, and contracts are ticking. Like, if MS isn't going to play the guys that JR signs, should JR just sign more speedy guys? Seems like if you're going to make that shift toward muscle, you have more off-seasons like this one where you bring in four guys, not just Reaves, who seemed like more a statement acquisition than a practical one. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having size and being able to combat the copy cat teams, which will have to happen at some point, but it doesn't seem like we're doing it in a very efficient way given the Crosby/Malkin window. I think we were exhausted last year, didn't look anything like previous cup teams; so I don't think it was exactly a sign of our formula not working. Perhaps we're admitting that we're an older team and not able to play the speed game/get beat up for 100 games per year... I'm not sure. I think we're trending up though, if only because of real depth.


I share a bit of a different view on the Reeves situation. I don't think JR and Sully were on different pages. I also don't look at the Reaves trade as a complete failure. Circumstances led to his time here being disappointing, but JR contended he did the job he was brought in for early in the season. He's a pretty decent 4th liner, but he has to have a center to play off of. That's where his game could be a force. Unfortunately, Cullen choosing to go to Minnesota, coupled with the trigger being delayed on the Sheahan deal, sabotaged his time here. The coaching staff simply didn't have the depth to play the 4th line much. They had no confidence in it. Which made it a lot tougher to find Reaves ice time. He looked very good playing with Sheahan for a short stint. The line was a force in one particular game in Philly. But the lack of depth at center kept the 4th line from finding any consistency. It's a shame that Reaves ended up being the currency necessary to expedite the Brassard deal. I would have liked to see what his use was like if he was playing with the center depth they now have.

They didn't abandon the idea of finding Sid and Geno some muscle. It also made moving Reaves more palpable that Oleksiak was acquired. JR wanted a guy or two who could help settle things down, and he got that. You don't have to have the heavyweight champion on your team. I suspect JR was more comfortable moving Reaves because of Oleksiak. Sully is correct, fighting has evolved into a sidebar. There's still a place. Of course I've followed it since 1968, so I have a yearning for the days of much more physical hockey. The game's evolved though. Speed is the #1 attribute, but physicality will never disappear.

The Pens set out to find a defenseman, and some depth. They also recognized that they needed a few guys who could play a heavier game. I think they accomplished that, and I'm excited for the season. The depth helps hedge against the team's age and injuries. The additional size just gives themselves a chance to play a different game. I think Sully gets a bit of a bum rap. Remember the Ottawa series in 2017? The Pens struggled early, and they decided to go with a heavier player on each line to offset the Ottawa trap. It helped get them back into the series. They addressed the depth needs with bigger guys that also addressed a lack of size. They're still very much a skating team, just one a little more suited for board battles as well.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby theblackarts on Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:54 pm

longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:
longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


After the Pens won the Cup in 2016, people assumed they'd draft small, fast forwards. More of the same. They had been dominant through the playoffs. Instead, they leaned towards size, muscle, and grit. JR's answer was simple. Because things will change.

The NHL has always been a copycat league. Going back to the broad street bullies being a direct response to the big bad bruins. Detroit and the Pens won with a lot of skill, as did Chicago. But Boston and Los Angeles won with size and goaltending.

If you win the cup, people are not only going to copy you, they will also devise ways to counter you. I think the Caps were a stronger team in '16 and '17 then last season. They were forced to play some of their kids who they hadn't trusted, and sign 4th liners like Smith-Pelley. They also were aware that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were the favorites, and knew they had a tough time keeping up. So they kept their core and surrounded it with more speed to keep up. Once they neutralized that, their advantage physically became pronounced. Now it's time to counter act the counter by bringing in players who can still skate, but also add size. Johnson, Cullen, Hayes, Grant. All over 200 lbs. They still intend to skate, but they want to be able to play the heavy game a bit better when necessary.


Yeah, and I get all of that, but it seems a bit odd to have JR and MS on different pages, while Crosby and Malkin are getting older, and contracts are ticking. Like, if MS isn't going to play the guys that JR signs, should JR just sign more speedy guys? Seems like if you're going to make that shift toward muscle, you have more off-seasons like this one where you bring in four guys, not just Reaves, who seemed like more a statement acquisition than a practical one. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having size and being able to combat the copy cat teams, which will have to happen at some point, but it doesn't seem like we're doing it in a very efficient way given the Crosby/Malkin window. I think we were exhausted last year, didn't look anything like previous cup teams; so I don't think it was exactly a sign of our formula not working. Perhaps we're admitting that we're an older team and not able to play the speed game/get beat up for 100 games per year... I'm not sure. I think we're trending up though, if only because of real depth.


I share a bit of a different view on the Reeves situation. I don't think JR and Sully were on different pages. I also don't look at the Reaves trade as a complete failure. Circumstances led to his time here being disappointing, but JR contended he did the job he was brought in for early in the season. He's a pretty decent 4th liner, but he has to have a center to play off of. That's where his game could be a force. Unfortunately, Cullen choosing to go to Minnesota, coupled with the trigger being delayed on the Sheahan deal, sabotaged his time here. The coaching staff simply didn't have the depth to play the 4th line much. They had no confidence in it. Which made it a lot tougher to find Reaves ice time. He looked very good playing with Sheahan for a short stint. The line was a force in one particular game in Philly. But the lack of depth at center kept the 4th line from finding any consistency. It's a shame that Reaves ended up being the currency necessary to expedite the Brassard deal. I would have liked to see what his use was like if he was playing with the center depth they now have.

They didn't abandon the idea of finding Sid and Geno some muscle. It also made moving Reaves more palpable that Oleksiak was acquired. JR wanted a guy or two who could help settle things down, and he got that. You don't have to have the heavyweight champion on your team. I suspect JR was more comfortable moving Reaves because of Oleksiak. Sully is correct, fighting has evolved into a sidebar. There's still a place. Of course I've followed it since 1968, so I have a yearning for the days of much more physical hockey. The game's evolved though. Speed is the #1 attribute, but physicality will never disappear.

The Pens set out to find a defenseman, and some depth. They also recognized that they needed a few guys who could play a heavier game. I think they accomplished that, and I'm excited for the season. The depth helps hedge against the team's age and injuries. The additional size just gives themselves a chance to play a different game. I think Sully gets a bit of a bum rap. Remember the Ottawa series in 2017? The Pens struggled early, and they decided to go with a heavier player on each line to offset the Ottawa trap. It helped get them back into the series. They addressed the depth needs with bigger guys that also addressed a lack of size. They're still very much a skating team, just one a little more suited for board battles as well.


I can buy that. I'm excited to see what this team does as well. I think they're much better equipped for the long-haul, and if Sprong clicks this season we should have no issues with secondary scoring. Add another D somewhere along the way, maybe Jarry solidifies as a back up, and we can definitely challenge for the cup again no question.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby theblackarts on Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:55 pm

longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:
longtimefan wrote:
theblackarts wrote:It just seems so odd that we'd win back to back cups, which is nearly impossible, using speed and feisty grit, and then think we need to improve by getting bigger and more physical. Vegas went to the finals by essentially being Pittsburgh 3.0... I just don't see the need, though clearly if you can be big and physical AND speedy and gritty then you always have a shot. I don't know. Overall I like our team so far vs last year anyway.


After the Pens won the Cup in 2016, people assumed they'd draft small, fast forwards. More of the same. They had been dominant through the playoffs. Instead, they leaned towards size, muscle, and grit. JR's answer was simple. Because things will change.

The NHL has always been a copycat league. Going back to the broad street bullies being a direct response to the big bad bruins. Detroit and the Pens won with a lot of skill, as did Chicago. But Boston and Los Angeles won with size and goaltending.

If you win the cup, people are not only going to copy you, they will also devise ways to counter you. I think the Caps were a stronger team in '16 and '17 then last season. They were forced to play some of their kids who they hadn't trusted, and sign 4th liners like Smith-Pelley. They also were aware that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were the favorites, and knew they had a tough time keeping up. So they kept their core and surrounded it with more speed to keep up. Once they neutralized that, their advantage physically became pronounced. Now it's time to counter act the counter by bringing in players who can still skate, but also add size. Johnson, Cullen, Hayes, Grant. All over 200 lbs. They still intend to skate, but they want to be able to play the heavy game a bit better when necessary.


Yeah, and I get all of that, but it seems a bit odd to have JR and MS on different pages, while Crosby and Malkin are getting older, and contracts are ticking. Like, if MS isn't going to play the guys that JR signs, should JR just sign more speedy guys? Seems like if you're going to make that shift toward muscle, you have more off-seasons like this one where you bring in four guys, not just Reaves, who seemed like more a statement acquisition than a practical one. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of having size and being able to combat the copy cat teams, which will have to happen at some point, but it doesn't seem like we're doing it in a very efficient way given the Crosby/Malkin window. I think we were exhausted last year, didn't look anything like previous cup teams; so I don't think it was exactly a sign of our formula not working. Perhaps we're admitting that we're an older team and not able to play the speed game/get beat up for 100 games per year... I'm not sure. I think we're trending up though, if only because of real depth.


I share a bit of a different view on the Reeves situation. I don't think JR and Sully were on different pages. I also don't look at the Reaves trade as a complete failure. Circumstances led to his time here being disappointing, but JR contended he did the job he was brought in for early in the season. He's a pretty decent 4th liner, but he has to have a center to play off of. That's where his game could be a force. Unfortunately, Cullen choosing to go to Minnesota, coupled with the trigger being delayed on the Sheahan deal, sabotaged his time here. The coaching staff simply didn't have the depth to play the 4th line much. They had no confidence in it. Which made it a lot tougher to find Reaves ice time. He looked very good playing with Sheahan for a short stint. The line was a force in one particular game in Philly. But the lack of depth at center kept the 4th line from finding any consistency. It's a shame that Reaves ended up being the currency necessary to expedite the Brassard deal. I would have liked to see what his use was like if he was playing with the center depth they now have.

They didn't abandon the idea of finding Sid and Geno some muscle. It also made moving Reaves more palpable that Oleksiak was acquired. JR wanted a guy or two who could help settle things down, and he got that. You don't have to have the heavyweight champion on your team. I suspect JR was more comfortable moving Reaves because of Oleksiak. Sully is correct, fighting has evolved into a sidebar. There's still a place. Of course I've followed it since 1968, so I have a yearning for the days of much more physical hockey. The game's evolved though. Speed is the #1 attribute, but physicality will never disappear.

The Pens set out to find a defenseman, and some depth. They also recognized that they needed a few guys who could play a heavier game. I think they accomplished that, and I'm excited for the season. The depth helps hedge against the team's age and injuries. The additional size just gives themselves a chance to play a different game. I think Sully gets a bit of a bum rap. Remember the Ottawa series in 2017? The Pens struggled early, and they decided to go with a heavier player on each line to offset the Ottawa trap. It helped get them back into the series. They addressed the depth needs with bigger guys that also addressed a lack of size. They're still very much a skating team, just one a little more suited for board battles as well.


I can buy that. I'm excited to see what this team does as well. I think they're much better equipped for the long-haul, and if Sprong clicks this season we should have no issues with secondary scoring. Add another D somewhere along the way, maybe Jarry solidifies as a back up, and we can definitely challenge for the cup again no question.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby longtimefan on Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:44 pm

Pretty quiet this time of year. Training camp is only 3 1/2 weeks away. Not much going on in the league, and the Pens aren't going to make any more moves before training camp. The biggest question is what 13 or 14 forwards start the season on the roster. And where is everybody going to play? ZAR is the only guy who can be sent down without waivers. Hayes they took a flyer on with a 2 way contract, but he still has to clear waivers. The other big question is who plays RW with Crosby, and where's that leave everybody else to slot in. A bit from around the net the last few days.

Cody Tucker is a new writer for DK, and has been doing a prospectus on each player. A lot of it is predictable, but he did glean some insight on a few issues. His article on Alex Grant is the first place I've seen Grant say he can play either wing. He was bullish on ZAR.

https://www.dkpittsburghsports.com/2018 ... -penguins/
“He’s a good 200-foot player,” Mike Sullivan said of Aston-Reese in late March when he and Dominik Simon were returning from injury. “We can utilize him in a lot of situations. We thought he was really improving with each game that he played.”

If Sullivan could construct the perfect hockey mentality, coupled with size, Aston-Reese would likely be his prototype. The coach loves his sayings: “Play Penguins hockey.” “Do things the right way.” And, of course, “200-foot player.” That is Aston-Reese in a nutshell. When he’s on the ice, anyway. Sullivan’s man-crush is warranted. He likes Aston-Reese’s natural strength, puck possession and instincts.


Aston-Reese is not the fastest guy, nor does he possess the scariest shot in the room, but he could be the toughest, physically. He registered 55 hits during the regular season and blocked six shots. In just nine postseason games, he landed 19 hits and blocked another half-dozen opportunities. Because Aston-Reese didn’t play in 25 regular season games, he is still considered a rookie heading into this season. Still, at his average over a full season he would’ve been fifth in the NHL in hits


His best, and most enlightening, article was on Sprong. He pointed out some things which I've never heard discussed on here. He has pretty damning evidence to support his case. He has to make the team because they bungled his ELC and didn't let it slide. Tucker sees him as a true wild card, but it doesn't sound like he's sold on him.

https://www.dkpittsburghsports.com/2018 ... -penguins/
Despite putting up 65 points (32 goals, 33 assists) in 65 games last season to lead Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the organization’s top prospect received only an eight-game audition with the big club. During that stint, Sprong scored twice in one game — a crucial 4-0 blanking of the Islanders in Brooklyn — and added an assist. He was shut out in the other seven, including four as a top-line winger next to Sidney Crosby. To make matters worse, the captain was also held off the stat sheet in five-on-five play, though he did score two goals and assisted on six more on the Sprong-less power play.


“People are always going to say I’m not the 200-foot player that everyone wants,” Sprong said last April when he was called up to the Black Aces, a reserve of sorts, during the Penguins’ playoff run. “But I think I made it a long way. At the end of the day, I’m an offensive player, and I thought I made big strides in my defensive side. I think the coaching staff trusts me as the season went on.”

It’s debatable if the coaches really feel that way. Or the players, for that matter.

Last January, as Sprong cleaned out his locker after receiving word that he was being demoted again, his teammates spoke about the “Penguins way” of doing things. Puck support, backchecking, zone breakouts and situational awareness were just a few examples. They reiterated that skill alone won’t get the job done at this level.


Sprong is a natural goal-scorer. A classic triggerman. That beautiful, explosive release is legit. But it’s the intangibles that have delayed a promotion. Most point to his lapses on the defensive end and, while there is concern in that department, as with most young players, Sprong has also been a liability on offense. If Crosby isn’t scoring, there’s a problem, and Sullivan’s main issue with Sprong — even more than the defensive lapses — is his tendency to get lost in the offensive zone. In his final NHL game Jan. 17 in Anaheim, Sprong played a season-low 8:33. He had one shot on goal and a giveaway. He was on the Penguins’ top line that night.

This performance was likely the final straw.

On an odd-man rush early in the first period, he got bunched up next to fellow rookie Dominik Simon and Crosby as they entered the zone together on the right side. With the period winding down, Crosby was a one-man show, keeping the play alive and looking for an opening. Sprong, No. 41, was seemingly in quicksand, out of position and not looking very eager to get open:


He follows it up with some pretty damning video, along with a video of a play that got him scratched in WBS. It is the first time I've seen anybody suggest Sprong's game in the offensive zone was more the coaching staff's problem than his defensive game. This from him in his comments section.

I really focused on the Ducks game last year. That was his last NHL game. He just seemed to float around in the offensive zone, focusing too much on the puck and not where he needed to be. If Sid can’t rely on you being in position, you can’t be on his line. He had a couple of noticeable mental lapses and I think that was kind of the final straw. Something just wasn’t clicking for him.


I agree that with the threat of demotion all but eliminated could help. As far as his numbers go … there’s not a calculator or genius in the world that could figure that out, I believe. He has the skills to be a big time scorer. He just hasn’t proven it in his NHL stints yet. “Yet.”


Jonathan Bombulie took a look at who is most likely to end up on Sid's wing. He lists all the possibilites, including Rust and Hornqvist. Here's a look at his feelings on Simon and Sprong.

https://triblive.com/sports/penguins/13 ... -on-sidney

Dominik Simon

A crafty winger with a history of playing with top players, Simon’s style meshes well with Crosby. The pair reportedly trained together in Nova Scotia in the offseason. Their numbers playing together at five on five last season (60.6 shot-attempt percentage, 13-8 scoring advantage) were the best among the top candidates. On the other hand, Simon wasn’t consistent in his first NHL trial last season, especially in the playoffs. If Simon, a lefty, plays on the right wing, it creates a righty logjam further down the lineup card.


Daniel Sprong

Sprong has massive natural goal-scoring talent. He was on Crosby’s line during the captain’s most dominant offensive performance of the regular season, a 4-0 win over the Islanders on Jan. 5. Sprong, though, isn’t good defensively, which could make Crosby spend too much of his time worrying about being the responsible one on the line.



THE PREDICTION

B. Dominik Simon

It’s one of the greatest conundrums related to Crosby’s game. On one hand, he’s willing and able to elevate lesser talents on his wings, which creates dangerous balance on the team’s other lines. On the other hand, doesn’t one of the greatest players in the history of the game deserve as much talent on his wings as a team can possibly provide? Ultimately, Crosby and Guentzel need a third wheel who can play a smart game and do the little things right. Simon fits that description better than Hornqvist or Sprong. Also, the numbers Crosby and Simon put up together in 244 five-on-five minutes last year were really strong. Sullivan knows that.



So there's a couple of opinions from a couple of local writers. FWIW.
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Re: 2018 Summer Game Plan

Postby Pensfan4life8771 on Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:44 am

So my two cents on Sprong is this.

The kid is legit 21 years old. The one luxury the Penguins have is he is young and you still have Crosby and Malkin. Having those two still allows time for Sprong to work on parts of his game he may not be 100% best at. Does that mean he may be healthy scratch at moments in the season? Does it mean he may start on top line with Sid and Jake but than end up on the third? Yes and Yes but that is ok. We don't need the kid to score 30 goals a year. We have Jake/Kessel/Malkin/Crosby. I think the one thing Pens fans can hope for with Sprong is he has a really good training camp and he finds his place on one of our four lines.

Now if he comes out this fall and has a forgive me but a Derrick Polliout type of training camp than we can start questioning if the kid is an NHL player long term.

with regards to article regarding how he got lost during the Ducks game. The NHL is a fast league and a huge difference from the AHL level. Just go to and AHL vs NHL game, the timing and speed is incredibly different. Also playing with Sid is hard, he requires a lot of work to be on his line which is ok, just may not be the best starting off point with a rookie. Do I think Sprong will be a game changer? I do. Do I think he'll come out of gate on first line and be next phenom, no I don't. Sprong with land on a line where he can contribute with his skill but also defend. I honestly really like the idea of Sprong with Brassard and Simon. I would say Horny but he is a net front guy and so is Brass.
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