HockeyBuzz.com – Ryan Wilson – Let’s take a look at the Penguins depth chart

Things have been quiet since the penguins’ bargain spree last weekend and Kasperi Cabanen’s contract extension, heaved a sigh of relief. So how are things going at the moment? What does a depth chart look like? Does it look like a team looking to make some noise?

We’re still a few months away from the start of the season, so some moves can still be made. Currently, the team has technically exceeded the salary cap. The situation should be where they move from salary out to fetch salary. Exit candidates don’t exactly have much value, so we might be looking at a close look at what the list would look like. I’ve divided the depth chart into three colors: green, yellow, and red.

I think Green makes sense in terms of price-leading and what the team needs given their position in their franchise arc.

The yellow players have some questions and arguments can go either way.

Reds are players that I see are not essential to the task at hand in trying to win the Stanley Cup or at least have the potential to make a respectable run.

I’ll look at the attackers first.

There are 15 strikers on the list. These are the 15 most likely to see an ice time sometime this year. We have a lot of green at the top end of the list. Less so near the bottom. This is not out of the ordinary for every team. The amount of red is still worrying.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, Jake Goentzel, Brian Rost and Rickard Raquel are the top six players. I understand why they are there and why they get paid. The term for some of these players is not where you want to be with Rust and Rakell and less so with Malkin. These guys are going to drive the bus. They are the strengths for 2022-23.

Jason Zucker is yellow because his hat he hit and the cost to get it wasn’t great for what the penguins got out of it. He was making an impression on Bo Bennett last year due to injuries. When he was able to play he was not able to score goals. I think he’s set to have a bounce season in terms of goal-scoring. The team does not have a respectable depth among the attackers, so what will you do? Its commercial value isn’t great and you won’t get anything in return equal to what Zucker is to the penguins at the moment. This is the situation where you have to roll the dice and hope for the best. If he could stay on the ice, I think he’d be a functional member.

This default third line is all red. Awesome value here. Jeff Carter looked washed out and still had a year to go. Brock McGinn is an overpaid player who looks like he might have to play in the third line. Not a great case. Casperry Cabanen? Ah, I still can’t believe they gave him two years at the same rate he was doing. He hasn’t done literally anything to deserve that commitment. Watching Nino Niederreiter sign his two-year 8M contract was challenging. How better would the lineup look with Niederreiter than with Kapanen? Instead, we have a third, all-red streak right now.

The fourth line has a very good position. Teddy Blogger is the perfect fourth line center for me. Ryan Poehling is one of those attitudes that changed the scene. The selection of the previous first round Yada Yada. It’s 750K, so the headgear is good. He’s wearing yellow because I don’t have any expectations. Josh Archibald is all my replay I have no interest in seeing in the NHL roster.

It appears that the extensions are blocked at the moment. I gave Drew O’Connor a green tick because I thought there were some promises with him last year. He looks like a player we don’t quite know about, but he showed at the National Hockey League level last year that he wasn’t out of place. I bet he gets a good look to see if he can stick around at some point. Radim Zohorna has spent some time in the NHL with the team so far. I’m not as optimistic about him as O’Connor, but I’m fine to try and see what a guy like him has instead of Drake Caggiula wearing red. He and Josh Archibald should take the back seat to O’Connor and Zohorna.

I am very disappointed with the construction of the third and fourth streak.

Here is the defense

We have more green. Being Chris Letang is an obvious candidate. Jeff Petrie is green right behind him. Penguins have a very strong punch on the right side. Lots of teams wish they only had one.

Brian Dumoulin wears red because he was an obvious candidate to move into the cover space but they appreciate him as if he was still the player he used to be. He’ll turn 31 in a couple of months, having sustained multiple injuries in the past few years, and also been off some of the worst hockey years of his career. You might be asking the obvious question how can you say this and still at the same time say it should be traded? it is easy. The NHL general managers couldn’t help themselves more than to be drawn to men like Dumoulin, two-time Stanley Cup champions with a history of success. We see him all the time. Someone will be a little.

Jean Ruta is something I still don’t understand. What does Chad Rohweedel have to do to retain a third doubles role on this team? He was totally fine! He makes very little. This is where on the depth chart you save it. Penguins keep spending more than they need on the sidelines, and so they run out of money to make real changes. I hated signing Rota back then and especially in hindsight with Petrie on the list.

Marcus Peterson is in yellow because his hood is high for what it is, but what are you going to do? With Mike Matheson out the door and the team keeping Brian Dumoulin, I don’t know how you can feel comfortable dealing with a consistent player like Peterson. It may be unnoticeable. He is effective defensively and is a consistent and somewhat forgetful player. Before the Matheson deal, the team did their best to move Peterson and no one managed. Thai means you won’t get much for it. Peterson’s header would be useful in trying to improve the attackers, but at what cost is the defense at this point?

Pierre-Olivier Joseph is on the ELC and likely plays the role of the lower coupling. This is the price point you want to be at the bottom pairing. If Yan Ruta is going to eat up the cover space, he needs to be able to work with someone like Joseph in the lower pairing.

Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Friedman are green because they are exactly at the price you want them to be. The problem now is that they are heavily blocked by the others in the squad. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team moved to Rohwedel. I think it would be a mistake.

Edit: I inadvertently left Ty Smith. It is in the yellow category for me. I think he was in a difficult situation in New Jersey. He has a very good probability profile along with a terrible 2021-22 NHL season. It would be really helpful if this player found themselves in a new situation.

So this list has a lot of red. The red color on it could have been avoided. I think Ron Hextall has done a really great job with the top end of the lineup and “keeping the band together”. He has so far sucked in support for these players, specifically in the front position.

Given the state of the cap, I wouldn’t be optimistic about other moves to improve the roster at this point. I would very much like to be wrong in this prediction.

Thanks for reading!