April 2, 2015

steve laidlaw

2015-04-02

Malkin and Kesler sit out, Brayden Schenn’s outlook, why Penguins might fall in playoff pools and more…

 

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No Malkin for the Penguins last night as he was a late scratch due to an undisclosed injury.

 

Things are really going off the rails for Pittsburgh on the injury front. No Letang or Ehrhoff last night left them with just five defensemen and the Malkin injury meant utilizing only 17 skaters for the full game. So much for finding rest for your guys down the stretch. It's expected that the Penguins will call someone up to fill the void but they are somewhat limited by the emergency call-up rules so they can't just bring any prospect up.

 

There's an upside to all of these injuries. The Penguins no longer have the luster they did early on when they were smashing teams with an otherworldly power play. You won't necessarily find a bargain on Crosby or Malkin in your playoff pool but you may not have to be picking 1-2 in order to get one. More importantly, the serious doubt cast over Pittsburgh could push guys like Patric Hornqvist, David Perron, a slumping Chris Kunitz, etc. down a round or two come draft time.

 

It'll all depend on matchups, of course. If things finish as is then the Penguins get and Islanders team that while dangerous hasn't set the world on fire of late. That's probably the least value-suppressing of all the potential first round matchups the Penguins could face and even in that one I think people are leaning more and more towards a Pittsburgh loss.

 

For a little bit of context, the one year I actually won my playoff pool was the year the Penguins took the Cup and that year they were only a four-seed facing a tough Flyers club in the opening round that was arguably as good as they were. That allowed me to draft Crosby/Malkin at #10 and #11 as I had fantastic positioning at the elbow slot in the draft order. Feels like something similar might be brewing here.

 

With all the injuries Derick Pouliot is skating on the top power play unit now but things are so dire that I'm not sure getting those extra minutes even has value right now.

 

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Nice night for Brayden Schenn with a couple of goals to end a six-game scoring drought. Unfortunately, the scoring just hasn't come frequently enough for a guy skating so many big minutes for the Flyers. He either needs to start making some strides next season or someone is going to take his spot on the top power play unit. I don't know who that guy would be to take his spot otherwise I'd be leaning that direction.

 

It should be mentioned that Schenn's on-ice shooting percentage is sitting well below league-average at 6.05%. Some regression on that front would help him hit another level next season.

 

The Flyers decided to give Ryan White over seven minutes of power play time last night. Not sure what that's about. He wasn't productive with the minutes and I can't rightly suggest you make him a pickup.

 

Claude Giroux since the All-Star break has scored just 18 points in 29 games. It sure feels like that has gone underreported.

 

Rare road win