Pittsburgh Penguins: Five Thoughts Entering Training Camp


The Pittsburgh Penguins’ quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup begins anew this week. The Black and Gold has 53 players coming to their 2015 National Hockey League training camp.

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They report to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Center for physical examinations Thursday, Sept. 17 and don the skates Friday morning for their first official practice. Locker room space may be at a premium in Cranberry. The training camp roster that head coach Mike Johnston assembled consists of 32 forwards, 17 defensemen, and four goaltenders.

Johnston and his assistant coaches have a total of eight preseason games in just 12 days to evaluate their players. The Penguins open the preseason Monday, Sept. 21 with the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

The Black and Gold do not get a break as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, Sept. 22 in their preseason home opener. The Canes and Pens drop the puck at 7 p.m.

Sidney Crosby and Company wrap up the preseason Friday, Oct. 2 in Carolina at PNC Arena. The Penguins meet the Hurricanes at center ice at 7:00 p.m. You can listen to all seven preseason match-ups on 105.9 FM – The X.

With skates being sharpened and sticks taped up, I have some thoughts and questions.

1) One possibililty is that we could see Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis skate on the third line with Nick Bonino at center. Do you like putting the veteran forwards together here?

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

2) If goalie prospect Matt Murray continues to show progress in camp, how long do you think it will be before general manager Jim Rutherford entertains calls about his availability in a trade? Would it be wise to obtain some of the draft picks lost in prior deals?

3) It could get interesting in the defenseman pairings. Is Ian Cole the right choice to work with Derrick Pouliot? Could Adam Clendening or Tim Erixon be a good fit?

4) Staying with the blue line crew, who do you put with defenseman Rob Scuderi at this point? Could Brian Dumoulin or Ben Lovejoy be the one?

The better question would be, can the Penguins trade Scuderi? Would any trade partner want Pittsburgh to pick up some of his contract?

5) Is there room for one of the young forwards like Oskar Sundqvist, Scott Wilson, or Conor Sheary to make this team? All three are below the age of 24. Will Johnston add more youth to the Penguins bench?

Bonus Thought: Kevin Allen reported in the USA Today that the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association have agreed to permit extra experimenting time during select preseason contests of the new 3-on-3 overtime format.

Many believe that the 3-on-3 scheme will diminish the number of shootouts. The outlook is approximately 75% of contests that are tied after three periods will be determined by this new arrangement.

However, no one is sure how the coaches will deploy their players. How do you like this change? It could get interesting with a trio of Crosby, Evegeni Malkin, and Kris Letang to begin a 3-on-3 session.

It is time to break out your Penguins gear! Take time out to let me know your thoughts about the upcoming season in the comments section below.

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