Pittsburgh Penguins Weekly Roundup: 5 Points on the Pens

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Oct 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Beau Bennett (19) on the ice against the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

3. Pittsburgh has found a winning lineup, but changes are coming soon

The Penguins have looked great through the first couple weeks of the season, and have iced a team that is performing well offensively and defensively.

So what are they going to do when Beau Bennett is ready to return from his knee injury? Of the twelve forwards currently suiting up for the Penguins, all have earned their right to be there. Zach Sill seems like the most likely candidate to be sent down, as he is the least established of the forward corps, though he has earned his spot on the squad thus far.

Bennett was originally thought to be a lock to play alongside Malkin on the second line. Then this summer we heard of coach Mike Johnston’s plan to play him with Brandon Sutter on the third line. That’s going to be difficult considering Malkin and Sutter are now together on the second. Does Bennett replace Dupuis with that pair? Unlikely.

Perhaps, then, he slots in somewhere on the third line with either Marcel Goc or Nick Spaling, pushing Steve Downie or Blake Comeau down to the fourth. It could work, but Bennett’s skill isn’t exactly suited to the game either of these bottom two lines are playing. He’s better suited to the hockey being played up on the top two lines, but there just doesn’t seem to be a spot for him in there.

Does Bennett’s return signal the end of the Malkin-on-the-wing experiment then? Coach Johnston may elect to put Geno back at centre and Sutter back down on the third line, with Bennett flanking either one of them. If this is the case, that’s an awful lot of change for a team that’s starting to get on a roll.

Summary: It’s going to be a mess.