Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has made several changes this offseason, including one that will directly impact team star Sidney Crosby.
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Indeed, the GM of the formation of Pennsylvania got rid of goaltender Matt Murray (Senators) as well as forwards Patrick Hornqvist (Panthers), Nick Bjugstad (Wild) and Evan Rodrigues (Maple Leafs). In the transaction involving the latter, Rutherford was able to get his hands, in particular, on the forward Kasperi Kapanen.
And Kapanen might smile when he hears his head coach, Mike Sullivan, say he will play alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel when the next one starts.
“We think he brings that dimension of speed that I think is complementary to Sid and Jake’s play,” Sullivan said on the podcast. The Scoop, as reported by the official NHL website. And he has demonstrated scoring skills. He scored 20 goals in this league (2018-2019). He has elite (player) speed, has a good physique (6’1 “, 194 lbs) so he brings a dimension of size to this line as well. So when we play in more robust games, I think (Kapanen will be) a player who will help us. We think these skills could be very complementary to those of Sid and Jake.
“We think he will start with Sid and Jake. We’ll see how it goes and if we need to make any adjustments, we’ll make them. But when you look at our top 6 right now with Sid, Jake and Kapanen and then with Geno (Evgeni Malkin), Rust and Zucker, it’s a pretty solid top 6. “
Crosby and Guentzel have been playing together for the past few seasons and the connection has been instantaneous. Rutherford, hopes he has found the third piece of the puzzle.
“We really hope we’ve found the right recipe for Sid’s trio,” Rutherford said. He’s had a great chemistry with Guentzel for a while, which will continue. We hope Kapapen can prove to be the right right winger. ”
Crosby and Guentzel were both injured in 2019-2020, but still managed to get 47 points (in 41 games) and 43 points (in 39 games) respectively, playing most of the time with Dominik Simon, who is now a member of the Calgary Flames.