Penguins hockey (sort of) kicks off today, with an afternoon game in Buffalo for the Prospect Challenge. Today’s game with be the Pens against the Boston Bruins rookies.
Here’s the expected lineup for Pittsburgh:
Interesting grouping, great opportunity for professional rookies Sam Lafferty and Anthony Angello to get going on a line with Adam Johnson, one of the oldest and most experienced players available.
Other names to watch are Jordy Bellerive making his return from a fire accident earlier this summer, Linus Olund and Jan Drozg and Justin Almeida. And, as we pointed out, Connor Roberts gets a chance to impress and will be looking for a contract.
Defensively...yikes, not much there. Will be interesting to see Calen Addison in his first game in a Pens jersey though.
And here’s what the Boston Bruins are bringing to the table:
Expected lines for Game 1 of the Prospects Challenge vs. Pittsburgh today at 3:30:— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 7, 2018
Fitzgerald - Forsbacka Karlsson - Donato
Hughes - Frederic - Senyshyn
Lauko - Studnicka - Kuhlman
Pare - Koppanen - McKenzie
Vaakanainen - Bukac
Lauzon - Zboril
Sherman - Andersson
This lineup looks a lot stronger on paper than what Pittsburgh has. Ryan Donato scored 9 points in 12 NHL games last season. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson is another top prospect looking for NHL time this season and Ryan Fitzgerald scored 21 goals in the AHL in his first pro season last year. That’s some serious firepower on their top line, any of those guys could be in the NHL next season.
Zachary Senyshyn, Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril are all former first round draft picks, surpassing the Pens lineup which includes exactly 0 former first rounders.
Here’s what our SBN Bruins blog said about some of their guys playing and situation:
Interviews and the narrative going into this challenge and preseason is that the 3rd C spot is currently up for grabs between three rookies if they want it: 2-way checker Trent Frederic, Smooth skating and passing Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Highly touted scorer Jack Studnicka. Those three you should keep a close eye on, but remember to keep bias to a minimum: they probably won’t be playing with the guys they’ll be playing with today, and you’ll have to adjust your expectations accordingly.
So it could be an uphill battle considering the talent gap, but odder things have happened in hockey for a very first game in September. Hockey is back.
How to follow
I haven’t seen any streams or feeds yet to watch. It is known that the Penguins aren’t carrying or broadcasting this. Thinking there will be something out of Buffalo somewhere, but as of yet it doesn’t look like there’s much known about how to watch live.