By Brent Murphy (@Pens Enthusiasts)
This new series “Just Checking In” is to give you the readers a nice look at different things going on with different players, coaches, etc. within the Penguins Organization.
Anaheim 2015/16- 4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points in 43 GP (0.30 PPG)
Pittsburgh 2015/16- 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points in 20 GP (0.55 PPG)
Carl Hagelin is a main stay at this time on the Pittsburgh Penguin’s second line. He has spent his time here being centered by Evgeni Malkin and having Phil Kessel sniping on the right side of the ice, so needless to say Carl was not brought to Pittsburgh for his shooting abilities. Recently, due to injury, Matt Cullen had to center this line, but they still performed quite well in that time. The reason this line is so successful together is quite simple. Each of the three players, plays a role in contributing to the success. Hagelin is always first to enter the zone or he is right there with the guy who is, his speed allows him to get back or in the zone before almost anyone else. If there is no open shot, then the puck is deferred to Malkin, who draws a lot of attention to him while he is on the ice. The plan after that is usually get it to Kessel, he was brought in to shoot and when Malkin is being double or even triple teamed, Kessel is usually left open. Hagelin is mainly here for support, is speed creates open lanes and possibilities to enter the zone in the first place.
Hagelin is possibly one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and that is exactly what the Penguins have been lacking over the past couple of years. They get beat back into their own end and they have paid dearly because of it. Now, when watching these speed possessed, ice birds, we see them getting to pucks before the other team and that has lead to so many more chances. In fact, the Penguins are first in Shots per Game at 32.9, I accredit this to the tremendous speed and work ethic the Penguins have been playing with since Mike Sullivan took over.
I think Carl Hagelin really has the potential to be a game changer for the Penguins, he isn’t known for scoring goals, but he seems to get them at just the right times and his speed will be instrumental barring a playoff run. Don’t be surprised to see his name pop up a lot late in the season.
Well, thanks for reading, leave a comment about who you think I should “Check In” on next week and follow me on Twitter for even more Penguins hockey coverage!