Earth to Penguins fans: THE PENS DO NOT NEED ANOTHER FORWARD.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal are each going to net 40 (pro-rated). Chris Kunitz scored 26 last year, Pascal Dupuis 25. Brandon Sutter isn’t Jordan Staal, but is an excellent third-line center.
Beau Bennett (23 points in 28 games) leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton scorers in this, his first pro season. Perhaps he’ll step up at what figures to be a brief, compact training camp. If not, then Coach Dan Bylsma will fill out the top six by rotating the hot hand. This is a pivotal season for Tyler Kennedy. He’s either top six, or he isn’t.
Playmakers like Crosby and Malkin create scorers. Goals won’t be a problem. If you want to know what the Penguins’ primary problem is – and how it can be solved – read my column at timesonline.com.
For James Neal, burying the puck is never a problem. Neal netted a career-high 40 last season, including 18 on the power play. At 25, his star is still rising. He’s become a conditioning freak with help from ex-Penguin Gary Roberts, and he’s got the release and killer instinct God gives goal-scorers.
The NHL lockout is over. THE BEST HOCKEY TALK IN TOWN begins today at 3pm. My guest at 330pm is the aforementioned JAMES NEAL. #realdeal
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