Jan 8, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT
The golden opportunity to skate alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal — who combined for 90 goals and 190 points last season — will be given to a number of Pittsburgh forwards, according to head coach Dan Bylsma.
“That spot with Malkin and James is going to be open and situational,” Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But it‘s going to be open to somebody claiming that spot and making it permanent, too.”
With Malkin entrenched at center and Neal at right wing last year, third wheel duties often fell to Chris Kunitz, who responded with a career-high 26 goals.
So…who are the candidates?
Bylsma’s narrowed the field to Tyler Kennedy, Tanner Glass and Matt Cooke — but also didn’t rule out Brandon Sutter, saying he “wouldn’t anchor” Sutter into the No. 3 center spot behind Crosby and Malkin.
If you’re taking bets (and if you are, seek help), the smart money’s on Kennedy to get the gig. He’s a right-handed shot and scored 21 goals two years ago, so he’s got enough offensive prowess to at least hang with the big guns.
Oh, and if you’re gunning for a longshot, do consider what Bylsma had to say about Glass:
Glass, a left winger signed from Winnipeg last summer, has scored just 13 NHL goals. Bylsma said he would play “if we‘re winning.”
Jul 1, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
Spent last year as Marc-Andre Fleury’s No. 2 in Pittsburgh.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:25 PM EDT
Will be expected to provide a steadying presence on Colorado’s blue line.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
Former Ranger gets a nice deal on the opening day of free agency.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
Big d-man sticks for one more year in the ‘Peg.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 PM EDT
Chuck Fletcher takes care of business early on July 1.
Jul 1, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT
Led all Vancouver d-men with 11 goals.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT
“I really didn’t get any indications of anything negative in exit meetings.”
Jul 1, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT
All the signings from what promises to be a busy day.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
One year, at $575,000.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT
Once again it’s him, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio in goal.
Jul 1, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT
The 35-year-old cashes in on a productive “last chance” season.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT
Coming off a productive season, in which he scored 14 goals in 47 games.
Jul 1, 2015, 10:38 AM EDT
“He came on to the scene with Columbus last year with maybe not a lot of fanfare, but I think he impressed people.”
Jul 1, 2015, 9:53 AM EDT
Which will keep him in Anaheim through 2018.
Jul 1, 2015, 9:39 AM EDT
Chicago acquired him in the Brandon Saad trade.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT
Carolina plans to buy him out.
Jul 1, 2015, 8:06 AM EDT
That keeps them in a position to match a potential offer sheet.
Jul 1, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Jun 30, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
David Poile has made the 35-year-old an offer and given him a deadline.
Jun 30, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
But this isn’t the first time such a scenario has been reported.
- Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years 3
- Neely was ‘surprised’ that Hamilton didn’t want to sign with Bruins 6
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 24
- NHL, Coyotes deny report that team is moving to Vegas 32
- Report: Richards’ border incident involved oxycodone 63
- Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose 25
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago 91
- Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames 19
- Sharks get Jones from Bruins for first-round pick and unsigned prospect 42
- Hurricanes to buy out Semin 15
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (91)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)