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: Sabres owner Pegula makes bid for NFL’s Bills

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

    Terry Pegula AP

    Now battling Bon Jovi and Donald Trump!

  2. Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs

    Jul 29, 2014, 6:04 PM EDT

    gettygardiner Getty Images

    Pretty nice pay bump for the 24-year-old rearguard.

  3. Habs sign hulking d-man Finley to AHL deal

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

    6-foot-8, 250-pounder was a first-round pick in 2005.

  4. Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    BryanTrottier Getty Images

    Hall of Famer will work as an assistant under Ted Nolan.

  5. Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Low-risk signing, with good potential upside.

  6. Now the Blues’ starting goalie, Elliott is working extra hard this summer

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Mike Richards, Brian Elliott AP

    “When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.”

  7. Wild, Fontaine avoid arbitration — two years, $2 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Six Getty Images

    Had 13 goals and eight assists in 2013-14, his rookie season in the NHL.

  8. Abdelkader suspended for first three games of 2015 Worlds for high hit on Sobotka

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Justin Abdelkader, Reto Berra AP

    IIHF Disciplinary Board levies punishment for “very forceful check.”

  9. Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

    BarryTrotz Getty Images

    New Caps coach wants “people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice.”

  10. Panthers avoid arbitration with Hayes, who gets one-year deal

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    Totonto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    Had 11 goals and seven assists in 53 games last season.

  11. Jets, Frolik agree on one-year deal worth $3.3 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Can become an unrestricted free agent next summer now.

  12. Feaster: Just a matter of time until Tortorella returns

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    They won the Stanley Cup together in Tampa Bay.

  13. Analytics just piece of puzzle to Leafs’ Dubas

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT

    Dubas

    He was recently hired by the team to serve as an assistant general manager.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches