Skip to content

Pens to audition linemates for Malkin and Neal

Jan 8, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT

Malkin Neal

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.

That said, Bylsma wants Kunitz on a line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis — the trio were dynamite together in 2010-11 — and a different Penguin to play with Malkin and Neal.

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.”

Okay then!
Latest Posts
  1. Report: Visnovsky considering European options

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Lubomir Visnovsky #11 of the New York Islanders in action against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on February 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The New York Islanders won, 1-0. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Potentially a move to Switzerland, or the Czech League.

  2. Sabres name Cunneyworth AHL head coach

    Jul 28, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT

    Randy Cunneyworth Getty Images

    Returning him to Rochester for a third time.

  3. Orpik undergoes wrist surgery, should be ready for season opener

    Jul 28, 2015, 7:39 PM EDT

    PA: Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Washington d-man is expected to miss the next two weeks of offseason training.

  4. Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Getty Images

    Nice payday after posting a career-high in goals this season.

  5. For Pens, Tuesday’s moves were all about depth and finances up front

    Jul 28, 2015, 4:23 PM EDT

    Jim Rutherford AP

    “When you look at the structure of our salaries and our cap, it’s important to get those bottom-six cap hits in better shape.”

  6. Journeyman Steckel signs in German League

    Jul 28, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    David Steckel AP

    With the Nurnberg Ice Tigers.

  7. Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game One Getty Images

    “When the games mean something, that’s when he’s at his best.”

  8. Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting

    Jul 28, 2015, 1:21 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    The Blue Jackets have done well. The Canucks have not.

  9. Leafs sign Marner to entry-level contract

    Jul 28, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT

    Mitchell Marner AP

    Probably looking at another year of junior hockey.

  10. Agent: Kruger ‘will be patient’ with Chicago’s cap situation

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Marcus Kruger Getty Images

    25-year-old didn’t file for arbitration, hoping instead to sign a long-term contract.

  11. Report: Antropov mulling NHL return

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Nik Antropov Getty Images

    But are any teams mulling his return?

  12. Mayers returning to ‘Hawks in front office role

    Jul 27, 2015, 8:21 PM EDT

    jamalmayersgetty Getty Images

    Where he’ll work as a community liaison.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Holtby (2391)
  2. D. Stepan (2122)
  3. G. Bettman (2108)
  4. A. Larsson (2032)
  5. A. Semin (1537)
  1. C. Ehrhoff (1266)
  2. L. Couture (1241)
  3. M. Johansson (1232)
  4. D. Tippett (1221)
  5. P. Datsyuk (1198)