In our quick recap of the Flyers-Pens weekend series, we said this:
The Pens finally got a goal from a third/fourth liner with Megna’s, so he’s probably gonna get sent down.
Then, this morning, we read this:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Jayson Megna to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Megna has skated in 26 games with Pittsburgh, tallying five goals and eight points.
Read that last line again: “Megna has skated in 26 games with Pittsburgh, tallying five goals and eight points.”
“tallying five goals and eight points.”
“five goals and eight points.”
Let’s look at the Penguins roster, shall we? Here are Penguins’ forwards ranked by goals scored this season:
Megna is behind Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Malkin, Jokinen, Sutter and Dupuis in goals. He’s played 26 games.
Now let’s look at average time on ice per game:
He’s 21st among forwards on the Penguins, in case you didn’t notice him. That’s less time than Zach Sill, Taylor Pyatt and Chris Conner, among others. Yet he’s 8th in goals among forwards.
We know that it’s not every player’s responsibility to score goals. We know that some players are there to kill penalties or shut down the other team or drop the gloves against the opponent’s designated puncher for some reason. We also know that the Pittsburgh Penguins have scored a lot of goals this season (they’re currently 6th in goals for.) We know that Megna was the easy choice to send down, since he could go to WBS without clearing waivers. We understand all of those things.
But we also understand that the Pens need offense from their bottom six, at least sometimes. If either of the top two lines go cold, the Pens could definitely be in trouble. Look at the goals chart above and ignore Dupuis since he’s been injured for a long time. The Pens basically have six guys who score and a whole bunch of others who don’t. Is that a problem? Maybe… but maybe not.
The Bruins have seven forwards who have double digits in the goal column. The Blues have eight. Anaheim has seven. San Jose has eight. Colorado has seven. Chicago also has seven. That’s every team that currently has more than 90 points in the standings.
All of them have more forwards with 10 or more goals than the Penguins, but not by many. So maybe the Pens are fine with their six. Maybe Beau Bennett could be back soon. Maybe it’s a salary cap and/or waivers thing. Maybe he needed to go since the roster was full. Maybe it’s that he was brought up to fill in for Kunitz or Neal and has now been sent back down because his “role” is no longer needed.
Whatever it is, it kind of feels wrong to send down a player who can score when the third and fourth lines have been struggling so badly. We’d rather lose someone like Taylor Pyatt on waivers and keep Megna up, but that’s just us and we have exactly zero experience running a professional hockey team.