The Pittsburgh Penguins are down two going into their next game. Both Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist sustained injures in Wednesday’s 7-1 loss against the Washington Capitals. Hornqvist suffered a concussion, and Kunitz an undisclosed lower body injury. They’re both considered day-to-day.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lose Patric Hornqvist and Chris Kunitz to Injury
They two wingers have each played in all 16 games so far. Hornqvist has scored more points out of the two. He currently has 13, while Kunitz has eight. Still, this is two top six forwards that the Penguins are losing; and it will be difficult for their replacements to fill that hole.
After only averaging a little over five and a half minutes throughout eight games, the Penguins finally waived Tom Sestito. It’s said the injuries prompted Sestito being sent down, as now they have the opportunity to call up another player from their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. That is, if head coach Mike Sullivan chooses not to use Scott Wilson and Tom Kuhnhackl, both have who have been healthy scratches of late.
If the Penguins do decide to call up a player from the AHL; Oskar Sundqvist and Jake Guentzel are likely candidates. Guentzel has 13 points in 14 games, and has signs of NHL-readiness. He’s a speedy scorer, and could fit well in the Penguins lineup. Sundqvist shows talent on both ends of the ice, unlike Guentzel. He would be a good option if looking for a defensive forward or penalty-killer. He has also been an offensive contributor with 11 points in 13 games.
Other players who might be considered include Kevin Porter and Ryan Haggerty. Porter has nine points in 12 games. Meanwhile Haggerty is a long-shot for a callup, but stranger things have happened. He only has three points in eight games, but like Porter, he has the grittiness it’d take to be an NHL fourth-liner.
Hornqvist and Kunitz should be back soon, but their injury gives way to AHL players to finally earn an NHL shot. Guentzel and Haggerty are still looking for their NHL debut, and this could be a good chance to finally get that.