This idea certainly doesn’t hold as much acclaim as the Pittsburgh Penguins “Great Line” or even their “Sky Line,” but it does have a legacy of its own.
Those previous two lines held Art Ross Trophy winners and current and future Hall of Famers. However, over the past three Stanley Cup Championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a high trust, and demand for its for their 3rd line Centers. Case in point, Jordan Staal made it a thing, and Nick Bonino just went ahead and made it even better.
Now, it’s up to Jarad McCann to fill it and roll with it. No pressure, right? After all, your only role is to be the next Center in line after Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. McCann, however, does have a way with words and knowledge when it comes to his new role with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After Thursday nights intra-squad scrimmage, McCann had this to say on the subject:
"“Being a two-way player, being solid in both ends of the ice. Always making the right play, just trying to stay confident, trying to makes plays, trying to be good defensively.”"
Pittsburgh Penguins: The legacy of the 3rd line Center renewed
What McCann’s role and the others before him have done, is well, do it all. Be a faceoff authority, a killer of penalties, a back, and forechecker, a defensive barrier, oh, and an offensive menace. Every Penguins Center does this exceptionally well, but there is a particular importance of these attributes when it comes to the 3rd line.
Staal had Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke, Bonino had Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin, and now McCann has Patrick Marleau and Patric Hornqvist. Finally, it seems that the legacy of this 3rd line option is a real venture once more.
On paper, the trio looks like the perfect collaboration, but they will need more ice time together to get ready for the NHL Playoffs. Before that comes, they still have another intra-squad scrimmage today and a “friendly” match with their cross-state rival, the Philadelphia Flyers next week. McCann is already claiming this as “his” line, showing just how ready he truly is.