Who Goes When Asham, Staal Return?


So, what are the Penguins to do once Arron Asham and/or Jordan Staal return to the lineup? Both are due back in the near future.

Staal’s going to center the second line. Asham will most likely man right wing on the third line. Considering how well the team has been playing, it’s going to be tough to take two players out of the lineup. But, obviously, both Staal and Asham are going to play once healthy.

In my opinion, you have to sit Mike Comrie and Tyler Kennedy/Eric Tangradi. Comrie’s a no-brainer. He hasn’t played poorly, but he certainly hasn’t lit it up. Put Staal between Evgeni Malkin and Mark Letestu, who deserves a chance to play on the second line. The third line should have Max Talbot centering Asham and Matt Cooke. You have to either sit Kennedy or bump him to the fourth line in place of Tangradi, who’s played well but can be sent to the minors without having to clear waivers. There’s no sense in keeping Tangradi in Pittsburgh if he’s going to be on the fourth line, regardless of how well he’s playing in that role. Let him play on the top line in Wilkes-Barre and, hopefully, regain his scoring touch.

The team’s won four in a row, but Staal is only going to make them better. Asham is under-rated and will make the Pens even tougher to play against. Unfortunately, there’s not enough room for everybody. Comrie knew what he was getting into when he signed to play here, and Tangradi’s still developing. As for Kennedy, he’s versatile enough to play just about anywhere. He could take a couple shifts on the fourth line, play on the second PP unit, give someone a breather on the top two lines and skate in some 4-on-4 situations.