Last night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks was a great win for the Penguins and the start they needed to begin the five-game road trip they have ahead of them.
It appears that trading Whitney was worth it for us (probably more so than for the Ducks) and was pretty immediate in providing benefits for the team in last night's win. Kunitz was projected to play on the top line with Crosby, but since Crosby was out of the lineup, he was put on the second line with Staal and Kennedy which turned out to be a good move.
In just one game, Kunitz tallied two points (1 goal, 1 assist) within the first 10 minutes of the game and played a total of 18:13 minutes on the ice (26 shifts); that's more than Whitney tallied with more time on the ice (same number of shifts) in his first game and I suppose you can argue that Kunitz is a forward and Whitney is a defenseman, but let's just overlook that right now for the sake of argument. And to be fair, this was only one game for each player, but doesn't it at least get you to start thinking positively about the Pens immediate future? It does for me.
Does that mean there goes Sid's potential winger? If Kunitz can elevate Staal's level of play like he did last night, it wouldn't be such a bad idea; however, neither Staal or Kunitz are third-line players (which is where Staal will play once Crosby returns). What may be worth trying is urging (i.e., "highly recommending") Staal to become comfortable as a winger and try him on the top line again with Sid along with Kunitz. At this point, anything is worth a try and with how these two played together, it may just be the spark both Sid and Staal need (Kunitz may be beneficial for both of these players).