In Bob Grove's latest Q&A on the Pens website, he goes with the first iteration I've seen this year of the roster game. Bob projects the four forward lines to start the season to be:
He says that Pivko, Ryan Stone, Erik Christensen, Jonathan Filewich, Daniel Carcillo or Michel Ouellet could make some noise in camp and earn a spot as well.
I have to say, I agree with what he has there. I think Michel Therrien will find a spot for Michel Outllet, though I'm not sure who you'd drop from the roster to make that room. I know that dropping Andre Roy would be highly popular, but let's face it - if they were going to drop him, they would have bought out his contract. They seem to feel that he'll be a good part of the team.
Without Malkin (if he doesn't make it over here), then the second and fourth lines would look like this:
With "Someone" being pretty much anyone from that list, though I'd give the early lead to either Pivko, Christensen or Ouellet.
The biggest thing I see is a third line that will be highly capable of stirring up trouble and chipping in with some points off of the turnovers they create. This is something that I think was highly lacking last year. They'll bring some much needed toughness to the team, if the reputations of the indivdual players are to be believed.
I'm almost optimistic about these lines. The top 6 forwards are all capable of scoring 20-30 goals, which would lead to a very balanced attack, and the power play could still be quite good.
Anyway, it's still early to be talking about this quite so much. Lots of stuff will happen between now and Ocrober 5th. It's still fun to talk about.
Let's Go Pens!