Pittsburgh Penguins: Surprising Phase 3 standouts

Every year, the NHL Playoffs bring out the best in the few surprising players. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, their Phase 3 training camp has done just that.

You would expect to hear names like Crosby, Malkin, and Guentzel tearing up the training camp for the Pittsburgh Penguins. What you might not expect are names like Lafferty, Aston-Reese, and a blast from the past in Patrick Marleau. After several scrimmages, and just a few more to go, here is what we’ve found out about these three so far.

Patrick Marleau

To an extent, thinking that Patty is a surprising standout might be a bit far fetched. However, taking into effect how Phase 3 training camp has gone, he has completed a 180 since the regular season. The time off from COVID-19 has undoubtedly benefited him, as his speed, shooting, and elusiveness all have returned in different facets of this training camp.

Marleau hasn’t just gotten his game better; he is making the ones around him better. He has been playing on the 3rd Line with Jared McCann and newly cleared Patric Hornqvist. Patty’s experience has only made the playmaking center better, and having Horny by his side will only further things along.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Surprising Phase 3 standouts

Zach Aston-Reese

ZAR was part of the pivotal 4th Line during most of the regular season, so it was almost expected that they would keep it rolling into Playoff preparation. Teddy’s Line has, and with the added advancements of Zach Aston-Resse this training camp, hey have gotten even better.

Zach and the rest of his line-mates have been lined up against the Penguins cream of the crop this training camp, and continually shutting them down. It’s no surprise that this is happening, but it brings good light to how he has grown over the break and is ready to take on the top teams next month.

Sam Lafferty

The Pennsylvania native has been standing up and putting out for the Pittsburgh Penguins, especially in this training camp. Sam Lafferty has done everything from playing on the 3rd Line at the beginning of this camp to now leading the Line with a few of the teams’ black aces.

Most recently, Sam was lined up with Angello and Johnson, both of who are looking for a roster spot. This maneuver yesterday showed Lafferty’s presence on the ice, as both of his line-mates got better due to him. His ability to move past the defenders and make plays have been vital and, in the same breathe, surprising.

Next: Pittsburgh Penguins History: Revisiting the 1997 Draft Class

Another scrimmage is set for tomorrow afternoon, and then the boys in Black and Gold will face off against cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers next week. After that, they will head up north to get ready for the Montreal Canadiens. Keep an eye on these three surprises, and look for who else might be making the cut going into the playoffs.

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