The Pittsburgh Penguins lost another game on Monday night against the New Jersey Devils 5-1 at home. Pittsburgh has lost four straight games and it is only November, but some personnel changes need to be made already.
The bottom six hasn’t done anything all season. Bryan Rust, Daniel Sprong, Matt Cullen, Carl Hagelin, and Riley Sheahan has been non-existent. Trading for Derrick Brassard last season continues to look worse and worse for General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Brassard is dealing with an injury and it looks like he won’t be ready any time soon. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Patric Hornqvist can’t continue to carry this team and expect positive results.
Speaking of positive results, it would be a positive result to see Jack Johnson scratched from the line up. He has been horrendous and is out of position often. Chad Ruhwedel needs to play more.
Olli Maatta continues to be slow and he’s lucky Justin Schultz is injured right now. If Schultz was healthy, Maatta could be a player that could be traded. Speaking of trades, should the Pittsburgh Penguins trade Maatta, Daniel Sprong, and a pick or two for Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander?
Nylander would provide a monster spark for this team and he would be a solid first or second liner.
The Pittsburgh Penguins should call up players like Zach Aston-Reese, Teddy Blueger, and Ethan Prow.
Aston-Reese and Blueger would be forces on the third and fourth lines. Aston-Reese has scored six goals and recorded three assists, in 11 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL). His plus/minus is 3. Blueger has scored four goals and recorded two assists in 11 games so far this season. His plus/minus is -1.
Prow’s game has improved in the minors so far this season. He has scored four goals and recorded five assists, in 11 games so far this season. His plus/minus is 11.
It is also time to bench goalie Matt Murray for goalie Casey DeSmith. Murray has been pulled from many games already this season. His confidence looks shaky. DeSmith needs to be the starter for the next few games. If he plays well and the Pittsburgh Penguins start winning games, then they should keep riding him until further notice. If not, then it’s panic time in Pittsburgh.
The stats between Murray and DeSmith this season isn’t even close. Murray’s record is 4-4-1 with a .886 save percentage and a 3.87 GAA, along with one shutout. DeSmith’s record is 2-0-2 with a .932 save percentage and a 2.25 GAA, along with one shutout.
Jim Rutherford should find a trading partner for Carl Hagelin. His contract is up at the end of the season and it wouldn’t be a bad move because it would dump salary and they would also probably get a draft pick in return. It would be better to get a player in return, but that kind of trade wouldn’t hurt either.
If everything I said were to come to fruition before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals, here are the lines I would like to see:
First line: Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist
Second line: Simon-Malkin-Nylander
Third line: Rust-Sheahan-Kessel
Fourth line: Aston-Reese-Blueger-Cullen
Defensive pairing 1: Letang-Dumoulin
Pairing 2: Oleksiak-Ruhwedel
Pairing 3: Riikola-Johnson
Starting goalie: DeSmith backup: Murray.
However, that will most likely not be the case. Since they probably won’t trade for William Nylander, here’s what the lines should be.
The first line should be what I have listed above, the second line should be Simon, Malkin, and Kessel, the third line should be Rust-Sheahan-Hagelin, and the fourth line should be what I listed above. Daniel Sprong should be scratched.
Jack Johnson should be scratched for Olli Maatta, since Maatta will most likely not be traded.
DeSmith should be the starter as I said above. This will be an interesting next couple of days for this team. They need to hit the reset button. Pittsburgh has the talent on the roster to be better than 6-4-3 with 15 points right now.
Coaching is not an issue with this team. Players not executing is and because of it, some personnel needs to be shifted around. If this continues, General Manager Jim Rutherford will be forced to make a move.