In recent Penguins history, Sidney Crosby’s camp-opening lines don’t stay together long
Seeing Sidney Crosby’s all-world playmaking skills and Jake Guentzel’s high-end speed paired up with top prospect Daniel Sprong’s lethal shot was obviously a tantalizing sight for Penguins fans on the first day of training camp Friday.
Chances are, however, that the top line of Guentzel, Crosby and Sprong won’t stick together all that long.
Looking back at the last three seasons, Crosby’s linemates on the first day of camp weren’t the players he spent most of his time alongside once the regular season started.
Coach Mike Sullivan installed Crosby and Guentzel as a dedicated pair, then gave a young player a chance to get some high-leverage experience during training camp and the preseason. That young player was Dominik Simon.
Simon ended up spending October and November in Wilkes-Barre, though he was back with Guentzel and Crosby by the second round of the playoffs. Crosby’s most frequent linemates during the regular season were Guentzel and Bryan Rust.
Crosby missed the first few days of training camp due to the World Cup of Hockey. When he arrived Oct. 4, he was paired with Chris Kunitz and Conor Sheary.
His most frequent linemates in the regular season ended up being Sheary and Rust.
Coach Mike Johnston experimented with young players on Crosby’s line as camp opened, teaming him up with 18-year-old Daniel Sprong and a 23-year-old Rust. By the time the first exhibition game rolled around, Crosby skated with Kunitz and Phil Kessel.
The Crosby-Kessel duo produced five goals and nine points in the first three games of the preseason, but the pairing quickly fizzled once the regular season started. Crosby ended up playing most with Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.