Plenty has been said about the issues with the bottom six of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The biggest, most pressing issue is... they're not very good. For more in depth reads about this you can check out this solid article by Ryan Wilson at HockeyBuzz and this by our friends at PensNation. When it comes to this, Ryan is right. The Penguins have taken something simple and complicated by bringing in, continuously, bottom barrel options for the bottom six.
|Craig Adams: Do we have to?|
Zach Sill is another case all together. He's able to clear waives, is cheap, and continues to play over someone like Bennett, someone with talent that could make the top nine better. It's a problem that has plagued the Penguins for several years now. Players like Tanner Glass would get time when they had no business touching the ice.
|The Penguins miss the consistency of Kennedy-Staal-Cooke|
Another issue facing the Penguins bottom six: there is no identity. The bottom six is a mishmash of players without any idea of how they'll fit together. Thinking back to the days of Kennedy-Staal-Cooke (and to a lesser extent Kennedy-Sutter-Cooke) there seemed to be a plan in place with each player. Kennedy was the water bug puck retriever. Cooke was the dig deep and dirty agitator. Staal (and poor man's Staal Sutter) was the trigger man/distributor. They worked. They meshed. There was formation.
|Brandon Sutter is key for a better bottom six|
Chemistry is real. Chemistry exists in hockey. It's something we've immediately seen with Sidney Crosby and David Perron. It's what we saw when Blake Comeau was healthy and paired with Evgeni Malkin. Chemistry is hard to find when your wingers are barely above replacement level. Having someone like Steve Downie is a start. There is plenty of work to be done.
Fixing the broken bottom six is the big key to making the Penguins better. No more Sill, no more Adams. More skill to go with agitation. It will take more than waiver claims and minor trades like the departed Mark Arcobello and Rob Klinkhammer. They were more of the same: a possibility that won't work when things are already broken.
It'll take an overhaul to get the bottom six ship running again. A healthy roster will help. Smart moves by a GM who has made some bright ones are essential. The Penguins don't need Kennedy-Staal-Cooke again. They do, however, need much more than they have.