pcm wrote:Bennett and Neal will obviously help our offensive production, but the lack of scoring depth has been an issue on this team for a while now. We lack players willing to play in front of the net, so we end up with 40 shots, but few quality scoring chances.
We also lack the depth that allows a team to sustain pressure/momentum even when their bottom lines are out there. This is what hockey is all about...you can usually "feel" when a team is going to score. But for the Pens, the top 2 lines (though lately just the top line) go and create pressure, then Sutters line comes out and plays an entire shift in the dzone, because they cant hold onto the puck. All momentum is lost.
I understand your point about the net front presence, and I would like to see more of that. That said, I do not think many folks realize what happens throughout the lineup when two bottom six guys assume top 6 roles. Kobasew and Jussi if dropped down drastically elevate the skill and knack around the net over some of the guys playing there now. If Bennett goes down and Jussi stays up, the result is still the same.
I think one of the biggest disappointments for me is Sutter, who I had higher hopes for in terms of scoring knack. He has shown to be streaky though so I am hoping he will chip in. The 4th line for any team rarely scores, so I would assume that the 3rd needs to chip in more and I believe that Kobasew and Jussi matched against 3rd D pairs should produce a lot more than what you see now, even if Sutter is their center.
I think it is also worth noting that with two scoring lines likes we are generally supposed to field, matchups should mean that we are getting production there above the level that we are seeing. Unfortunately, Kobasew has been invisible on Malkin's line and for my taste Malkin and Jussi together are playing too cute.
I think our issues with scoring depth are mostly centered on the makeup and style of the 2nd line right now, not the 3rd and 4th. Those will be fine after Neal and Bennett return. So in theory should the 2nd.
We will always struggle though if Crosby goes pointless for multiple games.