Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz have long been labeled as Sidney Crosby’s wingmen, but their time on the top line is dwindling.
Both Dupuis and Kunitz are showing signs of age. Although some may disagree, Kunitz’s production really died down towards the end of last season, and Dupuis had been replaced by Beau Bennett as Crosby’s right winger. So, the proof is in the pudding.
For future pairings, it would be in Pittsburgh’s best interest if they just removed those two off Crosby’s unit. Yes, both have a solid chemistry with Crosby, but when Kunitz was alone the captain, they struggled mightily to generate much of anything via five-on-five.
The hope is that the Penguins go out and find a new left and right winger for Crosby. Where will Dupuis and Kunitz go? Why not to Brandon Sutter’s line?
In the two seasons Sutter has been rostered on Pittsburgh, he hasn’t had wingers stick around for more than a day. I’m exaggerating, obviously, but you get the idea, he needs concrete partners. And considering the Pens’ secondary scorers were abysmal last season, Dupuis and Kunitz could be exactly what Sutter needs.
Some could make the argument that Kunitz’s production slowed in the second half of last season because of his involvement in the 2014 Winter Games. That’s a plausible reason, and I’ll agree with that; however, if that’s the case, his go-to-the-net, slot presence would serve well for Sutter’s contributions. Dupuis is Kunitz No. 2 – visit the dirty areas and grind out a goal.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel as though Dupuis and Kunitz can’t quite keep up with Crosby these days. Plus, on top of that, Crosby needs sharpshooters; wingers who are adept to scoring. Not to say Dupuis and Kunitz can’t score, because they most certainly can, but how ’bout the team puts them with Sutter, so that it will allow them to focus on finding Crosby a pair of wingers this summer?
I mean, that’s what the Penguins have been lacking all along: balance, right? Being able to put out a lineup that is composed of size and skill all throughout?
If the team decides Dupuis and Kunitz are more valuable on the top-2 lines, then so be it. But I think in order to achieve paralleled production, both need to be with Sutter on the third pairing.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins