The Penguins announced that star center Evgeni Malkin is going to miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season with a torn ACL (and a torn MCL as well) in his knee. His recovery time is anywhere from four to eight months. What does this mean? A significant injury always leads to a significant opportunity. Even if Sidney Crosby does return in the near future from his concussion, the Penguins have a tremendous hole to fill (as do many poolies who own Malkin).


Assuming Crosby does return soon (a pretty big assumption at this point), the Penguins will probably stick with the Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis line.


The second line will feature Jordan Staal for sure. Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy are also contenders, but both players are more suited to a checking/energy role. The contenders for that vacant top six spot include Mark Letestu, Dustin Jeffrey, and Eric Tangradi. The Penguins also now have ample cap space to make a move. Stephen Weiss and Mike Fisher would be attractive options if both players didn’t have multiple years left on their contracts.


Judging from GM Ray Shero’s comments, the Penguins will be active. "The positive is that this happened today and not March 1," Shero said.”From that standpoint, we have time to react between now and Feb. 28 if we need to do something."


Dustin Jeffrey – Jeffrey is the most ready of the young Penguin forwards for a top six spot. He’s a smart player who can play both wing and center. While Crosby remains out, he will center the second line behind Jordan Staal. His short-term upside is very, very high. He saw a ton of power play time last night, and that will continue for the next little while. Get him while you can.


Eric Tangradi – the most upside of all the young Penguin forwards (save for Beau Bennett, but he is a few years away at least). Tangradi is big and skilled. He is still a bit raw, and the Penguins aren’t in a position to let him grow in a top six spot right now.


Mark Letestu – Letestu is currently out for six weeks with a knee injury. Like Jeffrey, he is a smart and versatile player who will shift around the top nine once he returns to the lineup. Sticking with the Jeffrey comparisons, he is a fantastic short-term option in almost all league formats (once healthy, of course).


On the trade market, a few names pop to mind. Alex Kovalev (who could be had for a bag of pucks), Kristian Huselius (who would be absolutely filthy alongside Crosby), Brad Richards (Dallas will have to slip far down the standings to entertain ideas of moving him, though), and a pair of Edmonton veterans – Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner. If you own any of these players (especially Kovalev, Huselius, and Penner), get excited. All three are available and all three would fit nicely into Pittsburgh’s top six.

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Maximus said:

Mr Zizzla
Conner @Stash

Conner definitely has an opportunity to step up into one of those roles. I think he was an oversight since they were talking about WBS call ups mainly.

From watching most of the PIT games, I am very impressed with Conner and what he brings to the Penguins. In my opinion, he should be getting the top 6 minutes that Cooke seems to be getting now however Bylsma likes the wing pairings of Dupuis-Kunitz and Cooke-Kennedy too much to really split them up. That means that Conner will only get a shift or two in a top 6 roll.

I like Conner better than Tangradi (right now) for the top 6 as Tangradi is too raw and to me still looks a little perplexed as to the speed and skill in the big show. I can see his upside and maybe it's a lack of minutes thing for him but he tends to be a step behind and generally not that comfortable out there.

The brief stints Conner has had playing an offensive role, I have been impressed. He has the speed and the jam to make thinks happen out there. Though he is smaller, he plays like he's 6' as he crashes the net and goes to the dirty areas to make things happen. It would be nice to see him get his shot at producing more and I think he would be a nice fit on a Kunitz-Jeffrey-Conner line. That line would be fast and tough to play against in front with Kunitz and downlow with Conner allowing Jeffrey to work his magic at centre.

That all said, Conner has a shot as much as anyone right now but for the first few games or periods, look to Bylsma sticking with the usual top 6 with Jeffrey in for Crosby.

The idea of Hemsky playing with Crosby makes me drool!

As a fan, i never wanted to see a day without Crosby and Malkin in the lineup but over the last few weeks, it's been a very pleasant surprise to watch Staal lead the way and a bunch of 'grinders' getting it done on the score sheet! Thank Shero for his big money D because without Michalek and Martin, the pens would be in some deep do-do right now!

Keep up the great work Bylsma!
February 06, 2011
Votes: +0

Stash said:

Pittsburgh moves due to injuries? Would Chris Conner have a chance to fill a bigger role on this team duee to the injuries?
He lacks the size and stature to be effective in a constant checking role.
February 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Shao said:

... You are correct, no confirmations about being out of the season.

I think it'll take a few days for that to happen.

What has been confirmed is the ACL and MCL being torned = rest of the season since it is AT LEAST 6 months to fully heal.
February 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Chriz said:

2011-2012? What is the probability that Malkin starts the next season?
February 05, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

... I don't doubt that Malkin will likely be out for the season, but nothing I have read yet actually confirms that is actually the case, just speculates that it is likely.
February 05, 2011
Votes: +0
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