The Penguins have been missing Rickard Rakell in the lineup since he played on November 19th, followed up by a stint on the injured reserve. In a way, they’ve been missing him just about all season. Rakell has yet to score a goal in 2023-24. Taking away the stat-padding 10-2 win over San Jose where he had two assists, Rakell has only compiled two more assists in the other 16 games he’s played this season. That’s a big drop-off from a player that scored 28 goals and 60 points last year.
Luckily for the Pens, it looks like Rakell is going to be back in the lineup tomorrow night for their road game against Toronto. Rakell skated on the top line in practice today in a move that helps balance the lineup by knocking Drew O’Connor and Jeff Carter into more favorable spots in the lineup as well.
Lines for @penguins - Rakell is taking line rushes— Josh Getzoff (@JG_PxP) December 15, 2023
In another sign that Rakell is formally about to be activated from the IR tomorrow, there’s an indication about which forward will be leaving the NHL roster tomorrow afternoon so that the Pens can remain under the 23-player limit when they officially add Rakell back to the mix.
Hinostroza (PIT) on waivers— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 15, 2023
Vinnie Hinostroza goes from skating shifts with Sidney Crosby at times last game to the waiver wire. Tough sea change, that.
The game in Toronto will be meaningful for an off-ice member of the Pens. Kyle Dubas returns to the place where he spent nine years. Dubas is on the trip and likely will be featured in the Canadian broadcast quite a bit, but indications are he will not be making any comments on the trip about his return.
Dubas will no doubt be hoping that Rakell can jump-start his season by coming back from the injured list with his true form.