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Training Camp Outlook: Encores and Rebounds

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Last season the Penguins saw several players step forward and post some of the best numbers of their careers, while others saw their numbers drop off a bit for one reason or another. For a team like the Penguins to navigate its ways through the grind of an 82-game regular season and then pick up the 16 postseason victories that are required to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, they need strong contributions from everyone along the way.

Whether it’s Evgeni Malkin staying healthy and getting his production back to the 110-point level or Pascal Dupuis again chipping in with another 18 goals, it’s going to be a team effort that is going to lift the Penguins where they want to go.

Two players who are going to be asked to join Dupuis in duplicating last year’s numbers are Mike Rupp and Matt Cooke. Rupp more than doubled his career high in goal scoring while Cooke tied his. The 13 and 15 goals each chipped in respectively went a large part into giving the Penguins one of the top offenses in the NHL.

For that statement to remain true this season, a couple of veteran forwards who battled injuries in ’09-10 – Tyler Kennedy and Maxime Talbot – are going to have to join Malkin in improving their numbers.

Talbot, the hero of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup-clinching victory in 2009, was hampered all year by an offseason shoulder injury and contributed just two goals in 45 regular-season games. He is going to be counted on to tally 12-15 times this season.

Kennedy, 24, also saw his numbers fall off a bit as he faced numerous nagging injuries. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has reached double figures in scoring each of the last three seasons, and management believes Kennedy can reach even higher levels than previously achieved if he stays healthy.

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