PHN Blog: Analyzing Penguins Lineup With Galchenyuk | Pittsburgh Hockey Now
Connect with us

PHN Blog

PHN Blog: Analyzing Penguins Lineup With Galchenyuk

Published

on

The Pittsburgh Penguins lineup looks significantly different Sunday than it did Saturday morning. And could look different on Monday, too. The Penguins suddenly have some money to spend and needs in their lineup.

The team traded away Phil Kessel and his internal issues but did lose Phil Kessel’s production. There is a real chance the Penguins can improve without Kessel in the top-six. They did so in 2017-18 when Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist saddled Evgeni Malkin. Hornqvist could again ride on Malkin’s right, and the Penguins will spend a month or two finding the right combinations.

First, we’ll layout potential lines (Yes, the lines will change and change often. The Penguins use duos, not trios. So we will see Simon or Kahun in and out of the top-six).

Speculated Lines

Guentzel-Crosby-Kahun

Galchenyuk-Malkin-Hornqvist

McCann-Bjugstad-Rust

Simon–Blueger–Aston-Reese

Analysis

They are fast, there are some big bodies and grittiness. However, the Penguins are short on scoring. Any combination of Kahun, Simon, Rust, Aston-Reese, and Hornqvist on the right side is short of offense. Way short.

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

However, the Penguins left wings could be a strength. So much depends on Galchenyuk. He scored 19 goals last season but was a defensive liability (out of the frying pan into the fryer?). Much of the Penguins top-six now depends on Galchenyuk and that shouldn’t make the Penguins comfortable. A 19-goal winger who doesn’t play defense could be a better third liner.

McCann had a career-year on the offensive sheet and also popped 19 goals between Florida and the Penguins. Perhaps McCann boots Guentzel to the right wing so the Penguins can have McCann-Crosby-Guentzel. Or McCann takes the left wing with Malkin to provide the speed and puck retrieval like Carl Hagelin once specialized.

The lack of speed game on the second line is an interesting contrast to the remainder of the lineup, too. Perhaps Rust will slide up to the second line right side to provide that “touch to play against” speed element and Hornqvist will resume his chemistry with Bjugstad.

The Bjugstad-Hornqvist combination, especially with Simon was very good last season. Very, very good, even if they didn’t convert a proportional number of chances. With a healthy and reset Hornqvist, that last sentence could be a small footnote.

A healthy Aston-Reese could also be a big change for the Penguins. He showed well with Malkin last season and could slide up and down the lineup…if he’s healthy. 

Analytics

Last season, the Penguins had only two negative Corsi players in their lineup and Kessel is gone. Evgeni Malkin is not a great Corsi player but last season was an aberration. Surrounding Malkin with players who buy-in should do wonders.

If the Penguins are able to roll four lines with some cohesion, which they have not been able to do since 2017, they can mitigate their lack of scoring with an abundance of chances and suppression. The Penguins defense, as it currently sits, had a strong run from the trade deadline through the end of the regular season.

However, the Penguins defense doesn’t have much offensive pop, so it will be up to the Penguins forwards to maintain puck control and responsibility.

Two Penguins lines rolled in the 57% Corsi range, except the second line with Malkin-Kessel, and the fourth line with Matt Cullen which often covered the opponent’s top line. If the Penguins can have three lines rolling in the mid-50s, not only will we see the Penguins win a lot of games, but Matt Murray will post a .925+ save percentage.

Of course, Monday everything could change, too.

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Zach Smith

    June 30, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I still don’t think this is enough. We should still go after Jason Zucker, maybe trade Bryan Rust while his value is still high coming off a career season.

  2. Alex

    June 30, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t see Kuhan on the top I see McCann there and Kuhan on the third with Bjuds and hopefully Perry on a cheap price it deal then they can trade for someone like Zucker or sign Hutton and a forward if Hutton doesn’t work you have Riikola and POJ but this also requires a rust + jj trade to someone

  3. Matt Luda

    June 30, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    One more time: Alex Chaisson, please.

  4. RobertU

    June 30, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Chiasson would be a good, gritty addition.

  5. Pingback: Alex Galchenyuk excited to tackle tough task after trade to Penguins – TribLIVE – Rubal

  6. Matt Luda

    June 30, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    I’d settle for Ferland long term and/or Hainsey for one season on the cheap.

  7. Pingback: Phil Kessel bids farewell to Pittsburgh – PensBurgh – Google News

  8. Pingback: Phil Kessel bids farewell to Pittsburgh - PensBurgh - Naijabells! your number one news feed

  9. Pingback: Trading Phil Kessel wasn't Jim Rutherford's biggest mistake - The Athletic - 999 Locums

  10. Pingback: Phil Kessel bids farewell to Pittsburgh – PensBurgh – Job opportunities and walk-ins

  11. eD aNDREWS

    July 1, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Seriously who really care for the Corsi stats i would match up Malkin and Kessel against anyone in the league, nothing against the guy im sure he is a good guy but can we please get rid of Jack Johnson. Pens need bigger better Def players like Trouba or Josi (not a big fan of Chiasson cost to much) do like Ferland. Still think they got crap in return for Kessel, But now hearing that Kessel and Rutherford was at each other throats makes sense that they wanted Phil out of there

Make your voice heard

%d bloggers like this:

Join PHN Extra!

Join PHN+ today for exclusive content from Dan and Shelly plus a completely Google ad-free experience.

PHN+

Or enter your email below to sign-up for our mailing list.

Thank you!

Something went wrong.

No thanks. I don't want.

Send this to a friend