The Pittsburgh Penguins have dual intensely good centers in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. What they don’t have is anyone else who looks prepared to play a position on a championship-caliber organisation subsequent season.
After losing their third- and fourth-line centers, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen, to giveaway agency, a Penguins now demeanour as top-heavy as ever adult a middle. The team’s stream options during core embody Carter Rowney, Scott Wilson, Greg McKegg, and awaiting Zach Aston-Reese.
It’s not accurately a organisation that inspires a ton of certainty compared to Bonino and Cullen, who played pivotal roles on back-to-back Stanley Cup winners. Last season, those dual total for 68 points in a unchanging season, afterwards combined another 16 points in a playoffs.
So you’d consider there would be some coercion in Pittsburgh right now to residence this conditions with a event to three-peat forward of a team, right? Not quite, as GM Jim Rutherford told a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Sam Werner on Thursday.
Despite staring during a expected hillside from Bonino/Cullen to whatever Pittsburgh can slap together for a bottom six, Rutherford isn’t prepared to go make trades before a deteriorate to residence a situation. He’d rather wait and see what happens during training stay and early in a unchanging season, afterwards import his options with some-more information during hand.
“[I’m] some-more gentle with that than trade for somebody where I’m not certain either they can assistance us or not,” Rutherford said.
It’s a bit of a startling position for Pittsburgh, that hasn’t been bashful about bringing in veterans to try to win while Crosby and Malkin are in their primes. The organisation has ragged skinny a awaiting pool — ESPN recently ranked a Penguins passed final in a organizational rankings — perplexing to make certain it’s in a position to win.
Now that’s come behind to punch a organisation to some degree, as a deeper classification could have options in a teenager leagues prepared to come adult to fill those bottom-six roles. Pittsburgh isn’t wholly though options, though it’s tough to see a unfolding where a organisation doesn’t perform a probability of a trade during a season.
For now, it sounds like Rowney will open a deteriorate as a fourth-line center, so a doubt is who fills a symbol forward of him.
Some options listed by Werner to residence a miss of core abyss embody relocating immature winger Jake Guentzel to third-line core or perplexing a awaiting like Aston-Reese, who assimilated a classification as an undrafted giveaway representative progressing this year. Aston-Reese put adult 63 points in 38 games during his comparison year during Northeastern in 2016-17, afterwards put adult 8 points in 10 games during a brief army with Pittsburgh’s AHL associate during a finish of a season. He’s got NHL potential, nonetheless he’s a large doubt symbol during age 23.
The organisation could also try to slip over Wilson, who available 26 points in 78 games final deteriorate as a winger.
Pittsburgh isn’t though options — Rutherford pronounced “there’s a integrate of guys we could acquire right now” — though a organisation also knows that it’s a prolonged hockey season, and changes don’t indispensably need to be done in August. The Penguins won a 2016 Stanley Cup after banishment their conduct manager early in a season, so a organisation knows it can still make adjustments in those initial few weeks and stay on a arena to contest for a Cup.
But this is a doubt symbol a Penguins didn’t have final season, and it opens adult another area of disadvantage for a organisation that squeezed by a opponents in a playoffs this year. Having a healthy Kris Letang would certainly go a prolonged approach toward giving subsequent year’s organisation a boost in a playoffs, though they’ll still wish to make certain they have arguable centers in a bottom 6 to eat mins like Bonino and Cullen could.