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Penguins Line Combinations: Updated Projections with Galchenyuk



Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins summer has brought significant turnover and General Manager Jim Rutherford is not done yet. The Penguins are over the salary cap and RFA defenseman Marcus Pettersson is still on the beach without a contract which means even more changes will likely beset the Penguins before the season opener on Oct. 4.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now has conducted film sessions for the Penguins new players, Brandon Tanev and Alex Galchenyuk. While both players are in their mid-20s, the film study verdict was mixed.

You can read the Tanev video study here. And the Galchenyuk review here.

PHN has also been in contact with sources since the video sessions, and have been told a few tidbits about the Penguins thinking. Some of the conventional wisdom on social media and in the sports media could be counter to the Penguins thinking. Notably, sources said the Penguins could begin the season with Galchenyuk beside Sidney Crosby instead of Evgeni Malkin.

So, with a little inside dirt, some guesswork and our own evaluations of the players, chemistry, and potential, here are the updated Pittsburgh Penguins line combination projections.

Feel free to argue in the comments section.

Guentzel — Crosby — Galchenyuk 

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

McCann — Malkin — Hornqvist

Aston-Reese — Bjugstad —  Rust

Tanev — Blueger — Kahun



Based on Galchenyuk’s surge of hard play in the second half of last season, combined with his natural scoring ability, the Penguins top line could be scary good, if Galchenyuk continues forward and does not regress. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel hit major milestones as Crosby notched 100 points and Guentzel potted 40 goals. Galchenyuk could have his career breakout season, finally.

If Hornqvist returns to his proper form, the Penguins second line will give the Penguins a powerful, fast, and remarkably talented top-six. The defensive responsibility and low-end offensive upside of the Penguins third line could be a shutdown line with a positive goal differential.

The Penguins right wings could flip. If the Penguins feel they need more creativity on the third line because our version is comprised of pluggers, Dominik Kahun or Dominik Simon could slot there.

The Penguins bottom-six will be defensively responsible, fast and have more jam than the team employed in a long time. It’s an interesting mix, but additional turnover could greatly affect the line combos.

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

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  1. BK

    August 11, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I’d switch Aston-Reese and McCann.

    • Dan Kingerski

      August 11, 2019 at 9:27 am

      In that scenario–I’d put a more skilled RW in place. Kahun? and Drop Hornqvist back with Bjugstad, which was an impressive pairing.

      • BK

        August 11, 2019 at 10:01 am

        I Agree with dropping Hornqvist down to the third line and possibly 4th if Tanev becomes the surprise I think he will be. But the key to me is that they have to roll through all four lines. Keep constant pressure on the opponent’s Defensemen and the puck out of our D zone.

        It will be very interesting to see how all these new guys gel together. I really hope the core guys, in particular Malkin, get excited by the energy and enthusiasm of the newcomers. if that happens it should be an exciting team to watch.

    • Randal Stutler

      August 11, 2019 at 9:59 am

      I agree but also switch Hornqvist with Rust

  2. jessevereb

    August 11, 2019 at 10:19 am

    They should move guentzel to the second line. He’s proved he can score anywhere and I think Malkins line need the offensive touch. Galchenyuk would be great with sid. Leave horny on the second line where he can get chances to get the dirty ones. Have rust tanev blueger as your fourth line because they all work extremely hard.

  3. Thomas Roberts

    August 11, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Its def not ideal to have a 6 million dollar bottom 6 winger especially playing bottom . Also sucks having over 7m rapped up in 2 bottom pairing ds. I’d say pens are 1 deal away from really having a great shot to compete for a cup in next year or two.

  4. BIG B

    August 11, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Hornqvist should be on the Crosby line.

  5. Alex

    August 11, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I think Gal starts the year with Malkin and Honry with Bjuds, full in the blanks from there and I think one of Rust or McCann starts with 59-87.
    I also think someone in our forwards is still gonna be traded along with a dman or two (especially if Gardiner stays on the market long and his price goes down. Most likely is rust and Simon gets a spot on Crosby or Bjuds line

    • Dan Kingerski

      August 11, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      That is conventional thinking, but not what the source said the Penguins are currently thinking (though a few days of camp can change things quickly).

  6. EWS34

    August 11, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    I have a hard time believing that the Pens traded Matta and signed a guy for 6 years to play on the 4th line. GM and coach don’t always appear to be on same page. So I maybe I’m wrong.

  7. Matt Luda

    August 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Like Galchenyuk on the top line a lot. He’s a gifted goal-scorer who needs to be pushed. And Sid’s just the guy to do it.

    Kahun is too skilled and versatile to be banished to the fourth line. Could be a nice compliment for Geno and Horny on line two. As he showed last season, he can adjust his game to play with more highly skilled players.

    I want Tanev-McCann-Rust on a pure speed/energy third line that scares the hell out of opponents at one end and forechecks them to death at the other. I’m willing to live with McCann’s face-off deficiencies in the middle.

    ZAR should be a fourth-liner/PK specialist until he proves otherwise. Time to put up. ZAR-Blueger-Bjugstad could be a helluva fourth line. Until Bjugs is traded at least.

  8. Cal

    August 12, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Yep Galchenyuk with Sid, showcase him then trade him. I can see that happening. One thing I noticed is the absence of Simon. I know someones has to sit with current lineup but geez Simon-Bjugs-Horny line was lights out when they were together. Kinda like to see if they can keep past performances up.

  9. Matt Luda

    August 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Like the Simon-Bjugs-Horny chemistry but not the $11-million price tag. For that reason, Horny has to be in the top six unless he goes belly up.

  10. Gigi

    August 20, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Can the Penguins give Geno a star Winger too. Crosby already got Jake!!!

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