The Penguins have their fair share of free agents, unrestricted and restricted. Penguins fans are saying, “You’ve got to keep this guy. You’ve got to keep that guy.” Jussi Jokinen, Matt Niskanen, whoever.
That’s nonsense. The Penguins need roster turnover. This is a losing formula. Alter the formula. The Penguins must commit to young players.
Barring injury, Beau Bennett must be a top-six forward for 82 games next year. Top six, no matter what.
That’s why the Penguins drafted Bennett in the first round in 2010. Not to play him on the wrong line, on the wrong wing, so Brian Gibbons or Lee Stempniak can get better opportunity. That’s insanity.
Simon Despres is a restricted free agent. If he re-ups, he’s got to get a jersey for 82 games next season. He needs to get a regular shift on defense.
That’s why the Penguins drafted Despres in the first round in 2009. If Despres had been given a decent chance and proper nurturing, he’d be a better defenseman than Niskanen right now. If not, at least you’d know.
Coaching is about more than getting two points against Carolina in December. You’ve got to develop young players, and make sure your team and its individuals get better and are prepared for the playoffs.
All Dan Bylsma wanted was two points against Carolina in December. He made the Penguins into regular-season phenoms. Into paper champions.
The Penguins need a new coach. And a new philosophy.