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Pens Points: World Juniors and NHL division realignment the talk of the hockey world

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It’s Sunday, but a lot is going on. Which Pens prospects are going to the WJC’s? A few Mario Lemieux nuggets and everyone is buzzing about the realignment for next season

Winnipeg Jets v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

2019 Pittsburgh first round pick Samuel Poulin was among the final cuts for Team Canada’s World Junior team. Of the 14 forwards Canada is taking, all were former first round picks. And some, like Kirby Dach and maybe Quinton Byfield, Dylan Cozens and Peyton Krebs would probably be in the NHL right now if this was a normal year.. [NHL.com]

Scott Wheeler gives his thoughts on Team Canada and Poulin’s camp performance, saying in part: “he just wasn’t a factor throughout the camp offensively, and there were other players who emerged as better options for a little further down the lineup. He also, if I’m being honest, wasn’t off to the greatest start in the QMJHL given how dominant he should be (and often was last year)” [The Athletic $]

As such, the Penguins’ only two representatives at the World Juniors will be 2020 draft pick goalies Joel Blomqvist (Finland) and Calle Clang (Sweden). Both are 18 and both will almost certainly have bigger roles in next year’s WJC’s. [Penguins.nhl.com]

2000 Pittsburgh first round pick Brooks Orpik has a new gig as assistant coach at his alma mater of Boston College. This won’t interfere with Orpik’s other position where he works in player development with the Capitals’ minor league defensemen. [BCeagles.com]

New Penguin Mark Jankowski has an interesting back story. “My dad’s telling me yeah, your grandpa played in the NHL and your great-uncle is Red Kelly and I’m like alright, that’s pretty cool. Whatever that means” is a funny quote and nice article here from Meesh. [Penguins.nhl.com]

Our main man Adam Gretz checks in at NBC surveying which team has the best group of defensemen. Maybe if it was “best top four defensemen” the Pens would have a chance. Alas. [NHL on NBC]

In a minor trade, the Islanders get forward Dmytro Timashov from the Red Wings for future considerations. [Lighthouse Hockey]

LA coach Todd McLellan says the Kings rebuild is over, and now it’s time for the team to step up and play well. (As any coach, whose job depends on the team winning games right now would probably agree with). [The Score]

Edmonton’s #1 in their top 25 under 25 series: Connor McDavid. Must be nice! And kinda a reminder of just how young McDavid is as he continues to ascend into his prime as now the league’s premier scorer as the two-time league scoring champion stacks up rate-wise pretty well with Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby at similar ages. Not bad company. [Copper n Blue]

Speaking of the Big Guy, we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Lemieux’s return to the NHL at the age of 35, and Mark Madden drops some knowledge on why that monumentally successful return was such a big deal. [Tribune Review]

Brian Lawton was a key figure in helping his friend and colleague Mark Parrish address his problems and demons in the form of alcohol abuse. Which is always a good reminder to reach out and ask for help if you need it, and also be alert and look out for the people in your life — it could make all the difference, and there’s no shame in it for either direction. [The Athletic $]

Looking at the new proposed Eastern division realignment in 2021, which the Penguins are in, from the perspective of:

Because it’s 2020 and there’s no such thing as enough good news to share when the opportunity presents itself — a hearty stick tap to Canadiens’ Hall of Famer Guy Lapointe, whose cancer is reportedly now in remission. [Montreal Gazette]