“Plan A” has proven fruitless, “Plan B” is growing less likely by the minute, and “Plan C” requires a youngster to prove capable of carrying a big load.

“Plan D?” Well, let’s just hope it doesn’t come down to this.

We’ve all seen what Pascal Dupuis has done in a scoring line role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There’s his lightning speed, his tenacious forecheck, his cannon of a slapshot…

…and his stone hands.

But what can you expect from a third liner who has been miscast in a scoring line role?

Dupuis has fared quite well and has carved a niche for himself to the point that he had a career year last season and doesn’t look like a fish out of water anymore. But don’t be confused, an upgrade would be nice.

And that’s why “Plan D” is so troubling.

If you, like many, have reached for that brick to hurl at your TV when Dupuis botched a perfect pass from Crosby, you might want to spend the rest of the summer working out, as the cinder block you’ll need for “Plan D” might get heavy quickly.

So what is “Plan D?”

Tyler Kennedy and/or Matt Cooke.

Ouch.

Okay, so it’s not like I suggested the return of Janne Pesonen or Nils Ekman, but let’s be honest here, a trio of Crsoby, Dupuis and Kennedy/Cooke reads much more like a third line than a legitimate scoring threat.

Like Eric Tangradi, mentioned yesterday as one of the “Plan C” options, Kennedy is a polarizing figure.

There’s a large group that feel his underutilized and that, given increased ice time and better linemates, he would be the prototypical scoring line wing.

I’d like to have some of what they’re smoking.

Then there’s the segment of the fanbase that sees him for what he is: an average, streaky third liner who, to borrow a line from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, “is a one trick pony.” When the puck touches his stick, he shoots. Period. End of story.

That would be an awesome strategy if he was playing with grenades. But he’s not, and so it’s not. Quite simply, Kennedy would be an anchor on a scoring line, dragging down its overall value. And that’s bad news.

As for Cooke, well he’s polarizing too, but for completely different and completely obvious reasons. That being said, “Old Cooke” appears to be gone and has been replaced by “New Cooke,” or as I call him “Diet Cooke.” He’s lost his edge, and with that, he’s lost a significant amount of his physicality. Without that, he’s no different than any other player.

Sure, he put the puck in the net with a bit more frequency last season than he has in the past, but simply scoring goals isn’t always an indication of how well a player would fit on a scoring line. If that was the case Michele Ouellet wouldn’t have had to seek employment as the Geico caveman following his departure from the Penguins a few years back.

While I suppose one of Kennedy or Cooke wouldn’t be terrible in the short term on a scoring line, sharing the ice with Dupuis in such a role would be cause for major concern.

And that’s why we need to be hoping that one of the other two fallback plans works.