A take on the Pens all time roster

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Re: A take on the Pens all time roster

Postby FLPensFan on Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:29 pm

longtimefan wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:Now, who here can give me a"real" all-time roster...one where guys are playing in their proper position, and on their proper line/pairing....not just taking all the top guys and distributing them through the lineup. Here's my attempt at this:




I originally had Straka as the 2nd line LW, but, even though Straka has more GP and points as a Penguins (and he played a lot of LW after starting out a center), Kunitz is maybe 40 points less....but 3 Cups. Had to give the nod to Kunitz there. LW is a pretty weak position for the Penguins, at least in top 6 variety and a good amount of career games.

The bottom 6 forwards are a lot harder, because those guys get churned through much, much more. It's hard for me to pick a lot of guys from the 70's, being born in 1975 I didn't really start watching hockey until a few years before Lemieux came in the league. Can't just look at games played and stats to pick all of these guys. In the end, I went with Bourque and Errey. Errey played a lot further up in the lineup, but, he was never a true top 6 forward, and, the first 4 or so seasons, he was lower in the lineup. Staal was an easy choice for the 3C with his solid production in his tie here. I gave the nod to Loney, Talbot, and Ian Moran on the bottom lines, as those guys played lesser roles but managed a decent amount of games played for the team.

On defense, it's hard, unless you remember where some of these guys played. I'm pretty sure both Burrows and Stackhouse were more than bottom pairing guys. My other pairing that I might have used in their place would have been Jim Johnson-Rod Buskas.

In goal, Fleury with the unanimous starter nod over Barrasso, and Wregget definitely the easy pick for backup. Wregget played his entire time here "behind" Barrasso as the #2, but, Barrasso was injured so much that he was essentially a split starter or the #1 guy for 4 straight years.

I think you need to take your premise one step farther. Sid can't be a 2C, and I'm not comfortable with Errey as a 3LW. Here's my take with them in the spot where they made their mark.

Stevens Lemieux Jagr
Straka Malkin Kovalev
Kelly Staal Kessel
Loney Cullen Tanev

Coffey Murphy
Carlyle Letang
Roberts Eaton


Obviously, it's all argumentative. But a fun exercise. There's no arguing the top line. Malkin beats out Francis mainly on longevity. Kunitz played as a 1LW with Sid. Kovy and Straka were regulated to 2nd line designation because of Jagr's presence. Kehoe is a good choice, but spent a lot of time as a 1RW. Staal made the biggest impact as a 3C. But if you're looking for somebody who played 3RW, that's Kessel with HBK. Cullen made a strong impact as a 4C. Talbot's impact was up in the line up, and he didn't play in the middle a lot.

Some spots are tougher than others. Part of it is how important is longevity? As far as true 3LW, the two that stick out to me are Hagelin and J Bob "Battleship" Kelly. Which goes way back, and gets my vote here as a nod to my childhood. He was not brought in to score at the height of the Broad Street Bullies era. But he ended up with back to back 27 and 25 goal seasons after being placed on 18 yr old Pierre Larouche's LW. Battleship was among the toughest of the tough, and he helped contribute to Larouche's 31 goal rookie year. No one bothered Pierre. A very different time. So I went with the Battleship.

True 4th liners are real tough. Even on a very small sample size, I put Tanev there. He's labeled a 4th liner, but has had the benefit of 3rd line minutes because of injuries, and has proven his value. I cheated and went with Loney as well. Troy was much more of a 3LW, but teams generally didn't roll four lines. They were much more spot players, and Troy played a bit higher. He played with Trottier and Jagr the majority of the 1st Cup season. Maybe ZAR will lock this down if he sticks around and proves that his freakish defensive stats are legit. But true 4th liners are rough.

I just moved Murphy up as a nod to me believing he was a tad better than Letang. He took over the #1 spot when Coffey was moved, and he thrived. And later recreated himself as a defensive force in Detroit. Letang spent some times on a 2nd pairing while Gonchar was still playing. But it doesn't change the top 4. But the fun is trying to find true bottom pairing guys. I arrived at Gordie Roberts and Mark Eaton. Roberts was picked off the scrap heap, and played for both the '91 and '92 Cup teams. His only two seasons here. His only playoff goal was huge in the clincher against Boston to send them to the finals for the first time... Eaton played the least minutes on the '09 team, but was still over 18 minutes a game. He was just one of those guys who was there, but gave them good minutes.

Just a little different from the same conversation over and over until there is actual hockey to talk about. There's no right or wrong answers. My original thoughts in the initial post have evolved a bit. I'm now inclined to include Kovalev in my top 4. Good debate helps things evolve.

I like the Mark Eaton selection on the bottom pairing. I would also have to still move Letang above Murphy. Letang has 3 Cups, 808 regular season and 132 playoff games played for the Penguins, 537 points, the most of any Penguin defenseman. I was a huge Larry Murphy fan when he was here, but, Letang has to be #1, IMO.

I'd take a very similar argument for Kehoe over Kovalev. Kovy was one of my all time favorites, but Kehoe has twice as many games played and is 5th all-time in points. Can't leave him out...again, in my opinion.

Had some fun with this one for sure. :D
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