The Penguins have an extra forward, so they need a regular forward to be a healthy scratch. There are two players that are possibly candidates to become a regular healthy scratch: Steve Downie and Craig Adams. So which one should they use more often? Both players are solid players, with different pros and cons. It is a very difficult decision for coach Mike Johnston.
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Why should Adams play more often? Craig Adams has been a presence on the Penguins for years. He is a great locker room leader, so he is very important in that right. He is one of the better penalty-killers for the Penguins, and it is hard to replace him there. He is also a very good defensive forward, who can hit players well and blocks a lot of shots. The main concern about him is his lack of offensive talent. He barely produces any goals or points, and the Penguins have been looking for depth. It is a problem they have had, and Adams does not help the problem. Downie produces a lot more offense than Adams, and still provides defensive talents.
Why should Downie play more often? Steve Downie, unlike Adams, was a new acquisition this offseason, acquired in the James Neal trade. He is a rough and tumble grinder that has some offensive talent. He doesn’t play on the penalty-kill, but is still capable of playing god defense. He, like Adams, blocks shots and hits opposing players. He can fight at any time, and will stick up for anybody on the team. The problem is he sometimes goes to far when pushing and shoving with opponents. He has by far the most penalty minutes anybody in the league. He takes way too many stupid minor penalties, and that is something he needs to fix. Adams can stay out of the box more than Downie.
Conclusion: Steve Downie should play more than Craig Adams. Despite the penalties, Downie can score points, and he has shown that this season. He has a good bit more offensive talent than Adams, and that is the main reason Craig Adams should be a more regular healthy scratch than Steve Downie.
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