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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blake Comeau Embracing Opportunity in Pittsburgh by @griffTHW

Talk about a shrewd signing.  When Jim Rutherford inked Blake Comeau to a one-year, $700,000 contract, Pittsburgh's new G.M. brought in the kind of player the Penguins had been starving for, someone capable of bolstering the bottom-six.

After all, not only did Comeau dole out 197 hits in Columbus last year, but he's a former 20-goal scorer (he potted 24 markers and added 22 helpers with the Islanders during the 2010-'11 campaign).  Oh, and the winger brings a solid puck possession game, a quality the Pens have placed a premium on since Mike Johnston took over behind the bench.

And, while Comeau figured to slot in on either Pittsburgh's third or fourth line, he clearly sensed an opportunity with his new club, a chance to jumpstart a career that had seemingly stalled in recent years.

“Since I left New York, my numbers have dropped off a little bit. So I’m excited to expand my role and get back there contributing offensively like I know I can. Lot’s of depth upfront, so it’s exciting for any player to come here and play with these types of players.” - Comeau, on joining the Penguins
Eight games into the season, he's certainly taking advantage of his new surroundings.  Already having registered two goals and six points, Comeau's production bears no resemblance to a player who failed to put up more than 16 points in any of the last three seasons.

Of course, riding shotgun alongside Evgeni Malkin probably doesn't hurt.  Who knows how long it will last but the veteran winger is clearly seizing the opportunity while he can.  With five points in his last four games, Comeau continues to make his case for sticking with the superstar for the foreseeable future.

Should that offensive output dip if and when he returns to the bottom-six, though, don't mistake the "demotion" for Comeau bringing less value to the lineup.  Because, regardless of point production, he brings so much more to the table.

Whether it comes from throwing his weight around (he currently ranks second on the squad with 27 hits), standing up to an opponent who takes a run at a teammate or chipping in on special teams, Comeau finds a way to impact the game.  And, since he can play in any situation or slide up and down the depth chart, he provides the kind of versatility the Penguins clearly covet.

In short, he provides a lot of what last year's Penguins lacked.  Not bad for $700,000.

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