smoothmoneyb wrote:As far as Malkin and his slump is concerned, I really feel that this is more of Malkin just being the temperamental player that he has be shown to be over the years as opposed to who his current linemates are. We've seen many periods of hot and cold from him over the years. As for how to fix this, who knows? Even so, Neal coming back should still help the situation. As far as the best linemate to complement those two, I agree that ideally this should be a Kunitz type of player. Even though Sid's line hasn't really looked fantastic since last years playoffs, I still think it's a bit premature to break up that line in order to move Kunitz down to Malkins wing. Megna MIGHT be a decent option. Honestly I think the best bet, whenever Neal returns is to just keep Jokinen on that line. In a way Jokinen and Neal are quite similar players. Although Neal has a bit more skill, they've both got great shots and a overall knack for finding the back of the net, decent play making ability, and are not particularly great at anything else. Even though this might not be the IDEAL construction for 71's line, I think this line could be very effective, especially if Malkin can manage to pick up his play. Having two wingers who are both legitimate threats to score will definitely open things up and create more space for all three players.
Here's another completely unrelated idea. Right now we have a serious lack of forward depth due to injuries. I don't know if we have any idea about Dupuis, or when we can expect a return from Bennett or Neal. Kris Letang's defensive play is subpar. There is no doubt about that (minus the few occasions where he actually makes an honest attempt to play solid defense which is not very often). Soooo.. and you probably know where this is going, why not move Letang to wing for the time being. Try him out on Malkins line, or better yet, let him fill in for Dupuis. I honestly think he would make a better forward than a defenseman. Right now we have plenty of depth on D, so this wouldn't hurt in that regard either (might actually improve it). And allow him to retain his position on the power play. I really don't think it's that crazy of an idea. No more crazy than moving Engalland to foward. And considering the current circumstances, I think it would actually make perfect sense.
I think your "move Letang to wing" idea should have it's own thread. The more I think about it the more I like it.
Some of the Pens problems = too many quality D for them all to get enough ice time/ not enough skilled forwards/Letang not good at D and can't QB a PP... but he is offensively skilled. Moving Letang to forward helps solve these problems.
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