Day three of 2019 Pittsburgh Penguins training camp on Sunday opened with some minor group changes from the previous few days.
A couple minor switches from the past, with players like Jan Drozg and Jordy Bellervie going from Team 1 to 2 and Jake Lucchini going from 3 to 2 and Justin Almeida apparently not on the ice according to the above graphic as he rehabs an offseason surgery.
In game action, surprisingly enough Team 3 (basically the third line of Dominik Simon - Nick Bjugstad - Patric Hornqvst and Marcus Pettersson + Justin Schultz) beat the more star-studded Team 1 (Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Matt Murray’s team) by the score of 4-1.
Simon and Hornqvist both scored goals in the scrimmage, a good sign that the line that was put together towards the end of last season is continuing to play well. Though predicting the whims of Mike Sullivan’s line juggling is a fool’s errand, it wouldn’t be surprising if he continues to lock in with that trio for the start of the regular season as their third line, which strong performances like Sunday only go to reinforce.
Jared McCann was also rotating in at times with Bjugstad-Hornqvist which could also be a spot to watch. In this day and age coaches tend to find forward “pairs” they like, instead of traditional constant three-man lines.
Sullivan looks pretty locked in on Guentzel+Crosby as the base of his first line. And now it looks like Alex Galchenyuk + Evgeni Malkin are going to be the core pair of the Penguins’ second line this season. It’s still prone to changes and lines are written in pencil, not set in stone, but it sure looks like Sullivan has a lot of time for a Bjugstad+Hornqvist as his primary pair for the third line right now.
This leaves the floating pieces to be Dominik Kahun (currently getting a look on the Crosby line), Brandon Tanev (up with Malkin), Simon and McCann. Add in Bryan Rust and it certainly is an excess of top-nine options to play around with.
Team 2 also skated as a (big) group. Love the pic below on the left of Calen Addison (black jersey #76) jockeying for defensive positioning with Alex Galchenyuk, that’s the type of work Addison is going to need as he gets more experience and grows his game going up against talented NHL caliber forwards.
Battling for space and roster spots pic.twitter.com/znZ5HQZWln— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 15, 2019
The routine of camp will get shaken up a bit tomorrow, with the first preseason game of the season for Pittsburgh scheduled to take place. The Pens (well, some of them anyways) will take the quick jaunt over to State College to check out the Pegula Ice Arena and meet up with the Terry Pegula owned Buffalo Sabres. The roster/travel list hasn’t been released yet so we’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to see which players the team is going to bring out for the first game.