The bottom-six for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season was horrendous in just about every category.
Unable to bring any sort of physicality, the secondary was often times caught picking up wrong assignments and were vastly incapable of putting any sort of scoring on the board.
The team has re-signed center Marcel Goc, who will in large part play the fourth-line center role. At first, you’re kind of perplexed as to why Goc was retained in general, but given his short stay after being dealt to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, you have to believe when handed a full season, he will inevitably improve.
Sill, 26, made his NHL debut this past season after spending three-straight campaigns with their affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL), and left a remarkable impression on myself, and I’m sure the coaching staff; not so much on his ability to score, but rather his tenacious style of play teams long for on that last pairing.
Getting in opposing skaters faces and pestering puck handlers, Sill was essential on Pittsburgh’s forecheck for the 20 games he wound up playing. He brought attitude – that’s something the Penguins need. And no, attitude serving as a byproduct of frustration isn’t what I’m alluding to. Pittsburgh just needs to start roughhousing a little more.
Grit, grit, grit, that’s all anyone every talks about anymore. It’s cliché, but it’s so true when it comes to Pittsburgh, and they need plenty of it. Sill is relentless and he skates with heart. He’s earned the right to play for the Penguins this season. If you’re telling me Craig Adams deserves a spot over Sill, then you’re out of your mind.
There isn’t anybody on the roster that’s able to bring that spark – Sill will. Heck, I can recall a number of times where Sill was in, or coaxing a fight. And as for the rest of the team, I can’t think of one player who tried. Perhaps Deryk Engelland, but he’s gone now.
Here’s another interesting fact: In the 20 games that Sill played in for Pittsburgh, the team went 14-5-1, which is astonishing, given the fact the team had lost the majority of its roster to injuries when he was performing for them. Co-owner Mario Lemieux has stressed that his team needs to add more “grit and character;” well, Sill qualifies.
As I touched on earlier, Sill isn’t a guy who’s going to tickle the twine too often, however, he’s going to bring that energy that’s been lacking on the Pens’ roster over recent years. He’s relatively young, boisterous, and a team player.
And he’s ready to contribute immensely for Pittsburgh this season.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins