Penguins look pretty sharp in the 2.5 games I've watched so far. Haven't really seen anyone playing though... Brass, Sheahan, Malkin, etc. Some takeaways:
- Jack Johnson is super strong. Looking forward to seeing what he's capable of... I think he might fit real nicely. The real question is just how the pairings shakeout. Letang/Dumoulin seems the obvious top pair. I don't love the idea of Maatta with Johnson, though. We'll see.
- Juuso Riikola could actually be an NHL defenseman someday. Honestly I like him as the #7 defenseman better than Ruhwedel or Trotman or Corrado. Something to keep an eye on. He's still quite young.
- Dominik Simon sucks. Derek Grant is better, and should replace him.
- Teddy Bluegers would easily be a bottom 6 center on just about any other team in the league. He's buried soooo deep on the depth chart (Crosby, Malkin, Brassard, Sheahan, Cullen, Grant, Bluegers... J-S Dea might even be in there ahead of Bluegers. Management loves him.). Kind of disappointing, really. But he's looking really, really solid. Another year or two and we'll probably see him in the NHL somewhere.
- Bryan Rust looks phenomenal. He's almost making Carl Hagelin expendable, really. The thought of a 4th line of Sheahan/Cullen/Rust is pretty nuts. Gotta be among the best 4th lines in the league. But what Rust's play really does is put the heat even more on Daniel Sprong.
- Speaking of Daniel Sprong... he does look really good, but he's just SO inconsistent. From shift to shift... even within the same shift sometimes... he's sometimes exactly where he should be and sometimes exactly where he shouldn't be. I suspect GMJR is going to force Sully to try to make this line combo work (Guentzel/Crosby/Sprong). But if Sprong can't find some consistency, I really think that top 6 will see a shakeup pretty quickly. You might see Sprong down on L3 before long with Rust or Hornqvist getting time in the top 6.
- I've seen each of the Pens' three goalies play once now (although I'm still only halfway through watching Murray's game). Murray does NOT look confident. He's obviously got talent, and he's got the most experience, but there's just something about him that looks shaky to me. Casey DeSmith looked really good in his start... and that was with a terrible Pens lineup against a stacked Buffalo lineup. He's super confident, extremely athletic, and sees the puck really well. Jarry gave up a hideous rebound for the game-tying goal, and wayyyy over-committed on the OT winner. He's AHL-bound anyway since he's waivers-exempt and DeSmith isn't. Given Murray's health history, and the lack of confidence he seems to be playing with (not to mention his .907 last year), DeSmith is a real interesting player to keep an eye on in fantasy.