Penguins Welcome Back Ryan Whitney; Have Logjam of Defensemen
Factor in the month that No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury missed with a groin injury, and the various other injuries suffered by Tyler Kennedy, Mike Zigomanis and Max Talbot throughout season, and, well, it's been crazy. Actually, it's not that different from a year ago.
Good news, however, as Whitney will be making his return to the lineup tonight when the Penguins take on Tampa Bay at Mellon Arena. Whitney's been out all season after undergoing foot surgery over the summer.
Whitney certainly has his critics among Penguins fans -- myself included, sometimes -- he's still going to be a welcome addition to the lineup with his puck-moving skills, which will hopefully help what has been a mind-numbingly inconsistent power play unit.
While Whitney's return will help, it's still going to create a logjam of sorts along the Penguins blue line. With Whitney back in the picture, and Gill close to returning to the lineup as well, the Penguins defense will look something like this:
And this list, obviously, doesn't include Gonchar. That's nine NHL defensemen (including Gonchar) for what has been six spots for games. Something has to give. For the short-term, anyway, Letang will be out of the lineup tonight with an "undisclosed injury" and is listed as day-to-day.
A trade following the holiday roster freeze would seem to make some degree of sense, especially if they can land somebody -- anybody! --capable of playing on a first or second line. Though, to land such a player I'm guessing they would have to be willing to part with a Letang or Goligoski, something I'd be very hesitant to do.