Well first one back in quite a while, thanks for your patience on the update of the site, at least Ryan and I were able to get a few podcasts out in between.
I wanted to have a gander at the new crew coming in for Pittsburgh and how it improves their ability to produce pressure in the offensive zone.
All Penguin fans have known for the last couple of years that the bottom 6 forwards on the roster have been sub standard, thus allowing other teams to basically ignore them as a threat and thrust all defensive pressure on their all world talent.
So at least Jim Rutherford went out and changed the depth issue. There have been some big moves, but for my money the smaller moves have made this forward group in Pittsburgh the most exciting to watch since 2009-10 and the Jaro Halak disaster.
Lets take a look at the players who were anchoring the 3rd and 4th lines, the centers.
As you scroll through take a look at the players corsi for (CF) and corsi against (CA) and the poor production the Penguins were getting out of their bottom 6 centers.
You will notice there is only 1 player within these three with a variable above a 4th liner and it is Craig Adams, at least he was good at suppressing shots towards his net.
The bonus for the top 6 this year is there is potential for the bottom 6 to actually contribute, and not just chip in. This balance down the forward part of the roster will hopefully open up some ice for two of the top 5 players in the game and those lucky teammates who get to skate with them.
When Eric Fehr eventually gets on the ice sometime in the new year look at what he should bring to the ice in a 3rd or 4th line role, even if Fehr has some drop off due to a late start, his production and ability to suppress offensive opportunities will be a welcome change.
With Matt Cullen coming on board as most likely the 4th line center come playoff time this again is a marked improvement in both shot generation and suppression.
The bonus of both Cullen and Fehr is they can do some spot duty higher up the roster for a couple of shifts or if it came to it, a couple of games. This roster flexibility is something Mike Johnson must be excited to utilise considering how limited his options were last year.
As I have said before, this is the first time in a long time as a Penguins fan I am genuinely excited to watch this team. Win or lose, they are going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Thanks for reading.