Now that we know that there will be hockey in 2013, the question remains is: Who is going to play with Sidney Crosby?
Matt Cooke, Eric Tangradi and Dustin Jeffrey might be choices to fill that role. If you put Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis with Crosby there is a hole on the second line to fill.
The first man that should get a look is the Pittsburgh Penguins top forward prospect Beau Bennett. His raw talent alone should be reason enough to invite him to camp and see what the kid can do against NHL players. The whole purpose of drafting Bennett 20th overall in the 2010 was to give Crosby a winger to play with. They thought he was good enough to play with Crosby when they drafted him, now is the time to see where Bennett’s game is.
Bennett has proved that he is one of the best, if not the best player on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton squad. He leads the team in points (23) and assists (17) while playing in 28 of the teams 33 games.
Bennett brings an undeniable amount of skill to the table. He’s got excellent hands and has good enough hockey sense to jump into a tough AHL season and become one of top players in the league. What he doesn’t have is a lot of seasoning still in terms of age and experience. Bennett played only 10 games in college before getting injured and in his first pro season he has been playing through some injuries.
Should the Pens call up Bennett to play with Crosby or Malkin? This will be the story to watch for throughout the shortened training camp, which should begin Wednesday or Thursday. It is a tough call for GM Ray Shero.
Perhaps will be the biggest decision he makes all year. Calling up Bennett to play with either Crosby or Malkin will be no easy task for the rookie as he will see the very best defensive and checking lines the opposing team has to offer.