From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.
51-25-6, 108 points. 4th in Eastern Conference. Second in the Atlantic Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference. Lost to Philadelphia (4-2) in the first round.
Brandon Sutter, Tanner Glass, Benn Ferriero, Warren Peters, Dylan Reese, Tomas Vokoun, Brian Dumoulin, Jeff Zatkoff
Jordan Staal, Zbynek Michalek, Steve Sullivan, Brent Johnson, Cal O’Reilly
1st Round, 8th overall — Derrick Pouliot (Portland – WHL), 22nd overall — Olli Maatta (London – OHL)
What was shaping up to be a monster playoffs for the Penguins turned into a monstrous failure. Pittsburgh looked like world beaters heading into the playoffs and facing off with a Flyers team that struggled with keeping teams off the scoreboard, things were shaping up well for the Pens. Instead, Marc-Andre Fleury turned into a sieve while the Pens couldn’t stop the Flyers from scoring goals at will before losing in six games in the first round. The Pens defense looked rough and Fleury had an all-time terrible first round of the postseason getting lit up by Philly. Yes, they have the league MVP in Evgeni Malkin as well as the league’s best player in Sidney Crosby, but unless they figure out the rest, they’ll have questions.
It’s tough to be down on a team that has, arguably, the two best players in the league in Malkin and Crosby, but the Penguins haven’t done much to improve themselves in the offseason. As it stands, the Pens’ forward units will be the same despite a few subtractions. Gone is Steve Sullivan and in his place is, perhaps, young forward Eric Tangradi.
Pittsburgh is trying to lure Shane Doan to town, but with him hopeful to stay in Phoenix, banking on him coming to town is a badrisky idea. As it is, Pittsburgh will hope to see continued big seasons from Chris Kunitz and James Neal while getting more from Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis. Oh yeah, Pittsburgh’s defense needs to somehow be better while not adding anyone either. While Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik are solid, guys like Paul Martin and Matt Niskanen will have more asked from them as well as a slew of young blue liners. At least things in goal are solid now that Tomas Vokoun is there to make sure Fleury stays focused on the job at hand. At the very least, the Pens have GM Ray Shero handling things and coach Dan Bylsma locking it down on the field.
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