The boys are finally back on the ice, ready to get to work for the start of the 2019-20 season. Camp teams can change around early, but with limited practice time you can also start to see ideas and suggestions starting to form.
Remember, last year Daniel Sprong started on Sidney Crosby’s right wing, and on opening night was on the fourth line barely pulling in minutes. What we see today can and will change, that can’t be emphasized enough.
Here’s how the team was broken apart today:
What can we read into how the coaches have split the players apart?
Team 1 has Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, and the names that stick out are Dominik Kahun and Samuel Polin with this group. Also in a nightmare scenario, Kris Letang and Jack Johnson are together.
Team 2 is all about Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk as the Pens look to rebuild their second line. The versatile Bryan Rust is in the mix here, as well as some potential pillars of the fourth line in Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger.
Team 3 has the most players and a lot of filler/young guys in the mix. They also have together last year’s third lines that coalesced pretty well in Dominik Simon - Nick Bjugstad - Patric Hornqvist, with Jared McCann in the mix here as the only other NHL forward. And how much a glimpse of the future will the Marcus Pettersson - Justin Schultz pair be?
Based on today you would think the initial idea for lines — still very early form — as of the first day in camp would be coming into view like:
Guentzel - Crosby -Kahun
Galchenyuk - Malkin - Rust
Simon - Bjugstad - Hornqvist
Tanev - Blueger - Aston-Reese/McCann
Brian Dumoulin - Erik Gudbranson
In the efforts for fluidity and trying new things the team is also shuffling Tanev around to see how he meshes with Malkin too. Makes sense on his first day to see what you’re got with new teammates.
#Pens using the following lines for Team 2— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) September 13, 2019
I’m sure the internet will be non-plussed with the defense pairings, and Johnson/Letang wasn’t seen too much last year. The other two pairs look fairly palatable. I’m not getting too worked up over the first day of camp and I think pretty much everyone knows that sooner or later that Dumoulin and Letang will be united again.
Like mentioned, preseason moves quick. The first game is already on Monday night when the Penguins will meet the Buffalo Sabres over in State College. The Pens will be on the ice today, tomorrow and Sunday to prepare for that, but it isn’t too much time to experiment or really move too many pieces of the puzzle around.
We’ll see how practices go throughout the day, but the initial splits of which players go to which camp team are always a fun look at what the coaches have been thinking about all summer and what they want to try out first. Camp teams could change as soon as tomorrow, so again, don’t think anything is set in stone at this point.