Tuesday, February 8, 2011


What's painfully clear, given #71's apparent season-ending knee injury and the uncertainty of #87's return (and what will be his level of play if/when he does return?),is that the personality of this team may need to change completely come the playoffs. (We'll know better by the trade deadline, based on whether #87 has returned and his level of play.)

As it stands now, in all likelihood Pens will only have one forward (other than #87) with 50+ points: #14. Adding a high-priced winger won't help (ask New Jersey). For a playoff run with a less-than-100% #87, this team will need to be built around #29 so Pens can win games in April, May, June by scores of 1-0, 2-1. Thankfully, #29 looks like he is up to the challenge if Pens play conscientious defense. #4, #7, #44, #58 are fine. I've been especially pleased with the play of #7 of late. Pens could use one or two more quality defensemen, using #3 as trade bait. Best ones would be:
Ryan Suter, Nashville (signed though 2011-12 season at $3.5 million)
Adrien Aucoin, Phoenix (signed through 2011-12 season at $2.2 million)

I know this doesn't sound glitzy, but it's the team's best chance to win the cup without #71 and if #87 doesn't return this season or if his level of play drops (which would be understandable, given he hasn't had intense workouts in more than a month).

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