Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Finding out who will lace up on the first forward line this season won’t be too hard considering two-thirds of the puzzle is already in place. After coming off another career year, left wing Chris Kunitz will be back in his usual slot alongside captain Sidney Crosby. Finding out who will be playing on Crosby’s other side is what’s stumping hockey writers.
There isn’t really a whole lot to go on in terms of finding solid facts about who will be the top right wing until training camp. Until then, we can only speculate. I'm predicting that the position will not be filled by Pascal Dupuis, the guy who pretty much owned the spot until he went down in December with a torn ACL. I say this because he is now 35 and his career is slowly taking a tumble, especially with the recent injury.
Management may be looking to youth to fill the spot, and Beau Bennett may be the guy in mind. Bennett is 22, but he hasn’t played an entire NHL season yet. He competed in only 47 total games over the course of two years, but many still believe in the talented upside that Bennett possesses. Hopefully, that talent can be tapped into by the likes of Crosby and Kunitz, who can be great teachers for the winger.
The coaches will have their hands full trying to make these lines as perfect as possible. Dupuis and Bennett are really the only two possibilities. It’s between youth and experience here, and while I’m not an NHL coach, I think youth should overtake experience in this situation.