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Thread: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

      
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    Default It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup, Dan Bylsma and the Pittsburgh Penguins staff have been trying to find a replacement. Nobody is going to replace Crosby and Malkin's production, but the goal is to fulfill the empty spot with someone that has more of a play making vision as those guys do. That Top Line is the one relied on to produce.

    The natural choice to fill this void was Jordan Staal but Staal struggled has he has shown in the past against the better Defensemen and Top forwards in the league. Staal's inability to step up and in to that role was disappointing but he's settled back in nicely with his usual 3rd Line mates rotating Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz.

    The next solution was to try Mark Letestu. I don't know what the reasoning was here. I like Mark Letestu but Mark Letestu in nobody's world is true a Top 6 Center. He's a 3rd line Center with the potential to be an above average one in the NHL. Throwing him in the middle of James Neal and Alexei Kovalev and expecting much to happen was doomed from the start. Letestu isn't much of a play maker. Neal and Kovalev need someone in the middle of them with far better vision and a play makers touch.


    • In 10 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, James Neal has 3 points. 1 Goal and 2 Assists.
    • In 9 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexei Kovalev has 2 points. 1 Goal and 1 Assist.


    These are both good proven goal scoring wingers. They are natural wingers and like most natural wingers, they require adequate Centers for their production. Jordan Staal and Mark Letestu haven't provided for James Neal and Alexei Kovalev what they need of a Center. That's why Center is the most important forward position on the team. It's why the Pittsburgh Penguins have so much money tied up in that position.

    So why is Dustin Jeffrey not being given a shot on the Top Line between Alexei Kovalev and James Neal? Dustin Jeffrey of all of the WBS players brought up this season is the best Center we have for the Top Line spot.. He's been the producing play making Center down in WBS. He's the guy who has shown the most vision and top line production potential out of Jordan Staal and Mark Letestu. He's proven this down at WBS. How and why Jeffrey has been left out of the equation for Top Line Center is quite simply mind boggling.

    The only rational explanation for continuing on with the obvious failed attempts of Mark Letestu centering the Top Line is some sort of Defensive fall back. Alexei Kovalev isn't exactly known for his Defense, so perhaps there's this desire to place a more responsible defensive Center like Mark Letestu on the Top Line.

    The problem here is that this is being done at the expense of any Offensive production and Dustin Jeffrey himself isn't a bad 2 Way player. The stats provided above show how much of a lack of production is being had from James Neal and Alexei Kovalev.

    It's difficult to not get excited over the recent offensive explosion of 10 goals in the past 2 games but it came at the expense of the 2 worst teams in the NHL ; Edmonton and Ottawa. Even worse is that it seems that everyone except for that Top Line of James Neal, Mark Letestu and Alexei Kovalev got into the scoring frenzy.

    That's a concern.

    When facing poor quality opponents like Edmonton and Ottawa you expect that a struggling line will finally find its way, but when you watch that line play, it's painful. There's a guy on one side and a guy on the other side trying to do everything on their own because the guy in the middle, "the link" between Neal and Kovalev isn't the caliber of center those guys need and they know it..

    For the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into the playoffs to be as competitive as they can be, we need James Neal and Alexei Kovalev performing in the next gear and that's tough to accomplish when they are stuck playing with a center that is built more for a 3rd Line energy and grind role, than a 1st Line play making and vision role.

    It's time to give Dustin Jeffrey the Top Line center spot. He lead the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in points in 2009-2010. He lead them in points again in 2010-11 up until he was called up to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's proven that he can produce and do it against the top defensive talent in his League. Nobody is expecting Crosby or Malkin production but the Pittsburgh Penguins have got to get the top line producing heading into and in the Playoffs. Jordan Staal couldn't do it. Mark Letestu hasn't done it.

    Let's see if Dustin Jeffrey can.
    Last edited by Kipper; Feb-27-2015 at 09:25 AM.
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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    I like Testy as the center there myself, I dont see much difference between him and Jeffrey IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagle7187 View Post
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    I like Testy as the center there myself, I dont see much difference between him and Jeffrey IMO
    I am sort of with you. I like Jeffery but I am not sure he has proved that he could be a top line center. He does well against the lower pairings. Lets face it we have no top 6 centers right now. We are doing good with what we have. I propose no major changes until Sid gets re-inserted.

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    I like Jeffrey and Letestu.

    I don't think Kovy can play the same style as the rest of the Penguins. He's nice to have in shootouts and maybe he'll click on the PP some day. But IMO, during 5 on 5 situations... Kovy seems like he's in the way.

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    The Neal-Letestu-Kovy line is getting plenty of opportunities they just aren't finishing. If Sid does return me thinks they'll try him between Neal and Kovy. If that doesn't pan out it's back between Kunitz and Dupuis.

    Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy has looked pretty good so far.

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    The Neal-Letestu-Kovy line is getting plenty of opportunities they just aren't finishing. If Sid does return me thinks they'll try him between Neal and Kovy. If that doesn't pan out it's back between Kunitz and Dupuis.

    Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy has looked pretty good so far.
    there's opportunities but they are very sparce and I've seen countless times where Kovalev and Neal have had the puck and there's nobody for them to goto. Usually that is where they play off of the Top Line center they are paired with but seeing that we utilizing Letestu there, who lacks most of the skillset of being that, Neal and Kovalev are generally keeping the puck to themselves.

    whether it's a lack of faith in Letestu or what not, the opportunities on the Top line are staying with neal and Kovalev but when there's no link in between them to help adequately feed the puck and finish,that's a big hole. Center to me is an important position and when you add 2 talented wingers, Center becomes even more important.

    Letestu lacks the hands and vision that Jeffrey has. I don't know why exactly they haven't given Jeffrey the shot on the 1st Line at Center
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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    I like Jeffrey and Letestu.

    I don't think Kovy can play the same style as the rest of the Penguins. He's nice to have in shootouts and maybe he'll click on the PP some day. But IMO, during 5 on 5 situations... Kovy seems like he's in the way.
    Kovy looks like he does too much. He reminds me of Sid and Geno when they are playing stuck with garbage wingers and they lose faith in the guy next to them. Difference is, when you are a winger, you don't get guys on both sides, you really only have 2 options, drops to a blue line pinch or the guiy next to you which in this case is mark Letestu. That's to me, the problem. i see Kovalev and Neal just doing too much but I don't see Letestu involved in any positive way that these 2 guys need. Not in puck distribution, vision, finishing, shooting.. Letestu works well on a 3rd line role to get pucks deep and work cycles, burn time and wear out 2nd and 3rd defensive pairs, he's not a guy that's worth much in transition
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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Eagle7187 View Post
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    I like Testy as the center there myself, I dont see much difference between him and Jeffrey IMO
    Jeffrey has twice the hands of Letestu and twice the vision. Jeffrey's game is built more for speed and transition which is what Neal and kovalev need, which is really what a 3rd line doesn't need. Letestu's game is built on getting pucks deep. He's not worth **** in transition unless he's playing against 3rd pairings and 4th liners which he obviously isn't when he's playing on the Top Line. his game is built for more of a down low energy type game, which is more to our 3rd line game. That's not the type of game Alexei Kovalev plays

    to me, the players are in the wrong roles to suit their talents. Their skillsets aren't really being optimized. Switch it around. Unless we play the armpits of the league we're struggling to score anyways, so what the hell does it hurt to switch them and see if it helps? Can't hurt the team. Neal and Kovy couldn't produce much less than they are now

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    I am sort of with you. I like Jeffery but I am not sure he has proved that he could be a top line center. He does well against the lower pairings. Lets face it we have no top 6 centers right now. We are doing good with what we have. I propose no major changes until Sid gets re-inserted.
    He's never been given the chance to play on the Top Line, so how do we know how he would play? We know that with Letestu centering the Top Line, the line is not producing. 3 points in 10 games for James Neal. 2 points in 9 games for Kovalev and I think half of those aren't 5 on 5 for Kovy. That's a problem. We can't sit around and "wait for Crosby" and continue to promote terrible production like that. Who knows if Sid comes back and plays and when? If he doesn't that line has got to produce near a point per game pop. it's nowhere near that. We know James Neal can produce. We know Kovalev can produce... who is the odd man in all of this that is wedged in between them?? Mark Letestu. Instead of continuing with insanity and expecting different results while repeating the same failures, change it up. It's not like that Line could produce any less.

    Even using the assumption that Crosby wil definitely play, Letestu will automatically get shifted down to 3rd Line Center. That's undeniable. That is where he's played all season when We had one of Sid/Geno + Staal in the lineup. It makes more sense to have him there right now, forming that chemistry with those 3rd line linemates for the most important stretch of the season and prepping for the most important games of the season coming up.
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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    You know what I learned from the above? How much we dont need Jordan Staal. Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey are both likely to be able to provide exactly what we get from Staal as our 3rd line center...and cost MUCH less. Whatever Staal's value is...you have to start wondering about if he can't develop a goal-scoring touch/become a powerforward how much value there really is with him and his albatross contract when you develop guys like Letestu and Jeffrey who could easily perform as well in Staal's role.
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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    You know what I learned from the above? How much we dont need Jordan Staal. Mark Letestu and Dustin Jeffrey are both likely to be able to provide exactly what we get from Staal as our 3rd line center...and cost MUCH less. Whatever Staal's value is...you have to start wondering about if he can't develop a goal-scoring touch/become a powerforward how much value there really is with him and his albatross contract when you develop guys like Letestu and Jeffrey who could easily perform as well in Staal's role.
    That's a can of worms for another day

    I will say this though, with Geno and Sid being out, and not playing on the Top Line and facing the top defensive pairings and better defensive forwards, Staal and the line he's been playing on (Kunitz/Cooke - Staal - Kennedy) has been productive, especially Kennedy who has taken his game to another level with the all of the injuries. so there is a value right now to Staal. Is it $4 million? Not at all and yes it is very discouraging and disappointing that Staal couldn't step in to a Top Line role with 2 Legit Top line wingers and not just produce for himself but have that line itself produce.

    with all of these injuries I believe that this season was a good audition for a lot of players going forward. It also has helped really showcase weaknesses, strengths and verify the importance/lack of importance of what we have and what we don't have.

    That said, I'm not a big Jeffrey fan in general. I don't forsee him as a Top 6 winger and his game doesn't translate well to a 3rd/4th liner but right now with our injuries I do see some strong use for him as a Center on the Top Line. when it comes down to it, you put your players into positions that they can best succeed. to me, Jeffrey is best utilized as a Top Line Center and Letestu as a Bottom 6 Center
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    You would know better than be most likely Kipper. I am all for any moves that makes us better. I would say Disco knows better than you though. If you are right then there is no doubt in my mind he will try it. He isnt going to play politics with Letestu. They certainly are not with Staal. You guys are probably right about Staal. I never said you arent. I think he is a good player but maybe not the greatest fit on this team. Its not a can of worms though, its a dead horse is what it is. Lets not start 25 more threads about it lol.

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Beezy View Post
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    You would know better than be most likely Kipper. I am all for any moves that makes us better. I would say Disco knows better than you though. If you are right then there is no doubt in my mind he will try it. He isnt going to play politics with Letestu. They certainly are not with Staal. You guys are probably right about Staal. I never said you arent. I think he is a good player but maybe not the greatest fit on this team. Its not a can of worms though, its a dead horse is what it is. Lets not start 25 more threads about it lol.
    I would say Disco knows better too but if I counted on my fingers the number of times lines are shifted around due to uncertainty and experimentation and players are put in positions where they fail to succeed for longer than they should be and others aren't given a chance right away or ever by Bylsma or any coach.... I'd need about 50 arms
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    You may get what you wish for. The penguins are tweeting that Disco has Letestu day 2 day with an upper body injury. Of course we dont play for what 3 days but maybe...

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Letestu.

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    Default Re: It's Time To Promote Dustin Jeffrey To Top Line Center

    Jeffrey will be playing between Neal and Kovy against the Rags, Comrie and Asham skated with the team in practice today
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