Jesse wrote:I spoke to an AHL blogger tonight who told me Bortuzzo was more ready than Despres at this point. That surprised me. I've seen Despres all year, he looks comfortable (too comfortable?) - Bortuzzo has been so good that you hardly even notice him at this point. It'll be a tight and highly contested battle at the short camp.
Mr. Colby wrote:Well Bortuzzo and Strait are both waiver-eligible and would both be taken if we tried to pass them through waivers, so I'd imagine both make the team before Despres, who is struggling mightily in WBS
mikey287 wrote:8 D? Roster size did not expand to 22 like in the Euro leagues...
Asking Bortuzzo, a 23-year-old, with 6 NHL games under his belt to play nearly 20 minutes per night is something the 2004 Penguins would have done. I don't expect him to make the team...
The top 3 look right...Niskanen will either be a 4 or a 5 depending on how camp goes. I'd prefer 5, but only if Despres is fully ready to go...and that's a big "if" and we're going to have to deal with the growing pains...
Soon enough though one of our scum bucket prospects like Strait or Bortuzzo will have to beat out Engelland and put a limit to his sky...the coaching staff has to start pushing for that fairly soon or risk losing them for nothing...which isn't a big deal to me anymore, but if these fringe prospects keep losing their job to a guy who gets his ass hot glued to the bench in the playoffs, we should probably just dump'em all at the first sign of maturity from the "good" prospects...
Bowser wrote:Five days to figure out, who is ready, who is worth keeping, and who is done. I can't imagine how that's enough time for anyone to separate themselves from the pre-camp rankings. Good luck with that.
A ton of well-deserved criticism was thrown at Paul Martin but let's not forget Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang were terrible in the playoffs, Deryk Engelland was his normal slow self and often attached to the bench, Matt Niskanen is a little questionable with that shoulder, and who wants to see Ben Lovejoy after his horrendous performance in the playoffs.
I think that's why we've heard Sergei Gonchar's name attached to the Penguins in the rumor mill and likely will continue to hear his name if the team struggles on defense. I don't think Gonchar is a top four defenseman at even-strength but if he averages 4 power plays per game around 1:30 per shift, that's 6 minutes of his possible 16-18 minutes per game. Before Shero goes that route, I hope he's scouring the league for a legit top four defenseman to pair up with Martin this season and maybe one of the younger guys next season.
Not sure we're going to see Simon Despres get much of a shot early with his struggles in the AHL this season and too many guys need to pass through waivers. I've pegged Despres as one of the guys to be traded for a second line winger or a veteran top four defenseman that would bring something this team needs, a physical presence that is mobile.
Right now I have the depth chart as...
Orpik - Letang
Martin - Engelland
Niskanen - Lovejoy
Strait - Bortuzzo
I figure someone has to be traded or put on waivers as the team would be pretty crazy to go with 8 defensemen on the roster or would they?
This there's only five or six days to practice, team might want to have all 8 up here and practicing together, then after two or three weeks, then make a decision on a cast away.
Bowser wrote:Yeah, that's what I figure Byslma and Shero will do for a start but it isn't what I would do.
I'd go with some youth...
Orpik - Despres
Martin - Letang
Niskanen - Bortuzzo
Extra: Engelland - Strait (for first 2-3 weeks)
Don't really care if Pens lose Lovejoy as the team has plenty of other defensemen in the minors with Joe Morrow, Dylan Reese, Brian Dumoulin, Philip Samuelsson, Alex Grant and Carl Sneep. Then next season, they've got Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta, and Nick D'Agostino ready to add to that pro depth.
bwink wrote:I have faith in Shero - Things will sort out rather quickly.
What happened to Depres? I thought he was a no-brainer to be on the blueline this season.
Bylsma, who knows better than most how much Martin struggled in 2011-12, projects him as a top-four defenseman, and is leaning toward deploying him with Brooks Orpik on the top defense-oriented pairing.
"Depending on how our lineup shakes out in camp and going into the first game, being paired with Orpik is a possibility that we maybe haven't done in the past," Bylsma said.
"We don't have a lot of left[-handed] shots, so to put two left shots together is [potentially problematic] ... but Paul has been a player who has played 28 minutes, 27, 26 minutes. A lot of minutes in a defending situation against good players.
"With a physical player like Brooks, that type of pairing would be a possibility that we could see. And one we'll probably see a little bit of in camp."
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