Pittsburgh Penguins Day on ProHockeyTalk
Offseason Report: Pittsburgh Penguins
Jul 25, 2012, 9:45 AM EDT
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.
Do Crosby and Malkin even need scoring help?
Jul 25, 2012, 11:52 AM EDT
We don’t have to tell you that, when healthy, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are two of the most dominating scorers in the NHL. Both players have won MVP awards (Malkin this year, Crosby in 2007), both have won the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer (Malkin’s done it twice), and Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2009.
We always hear about how the Penguins are in search of a big scoring winger to help these guys out, but do they even need it?
Look at what Malkin did to help James Neal break out last season. With Dallas, Neal was a consistent 25-ish goal per year guy. One season with a fully healthy Malkin and suddenly he’s a 40-goal guy.
It’s hard to judge what Crosby was able to do to help his linemates in 22 games last season, but when he’s been healthy guys like Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis have benefited greatly thanks to having “Sid The Kid” setting them up.
While the Penguins lost Steve Sullivan to Phoenix while they pursued Zach Parise, if Ray Shero opts to go with what he’s got it might be time to give Eric Tangradi a shot to see if he’s all he’s cracked up to be.
Brandon Sutter gets unenviable job of replacing Jordan Staal
Jul 25, 2012, 1:19 PM EDT
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Sutter met the press today at CONSOL Energy Center, donning the black and gold for the first time. Sutter has the task of taking the place of Jordan Staal after their draft day trade for each other, a tall order to say the least.
Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette caught up with Sutter to find out what he expects his role to be with the Penguins.
“I think where I was before, I liked my role there and I feel it’s going to be kind of similar here. I think at the same time, there was times where I didn’t get very much offensive opportunity at all. There was no power play, no nothing ever. Which is fine if you’re winning. But when you’re not winning, that can be kind of frustrating I guess. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Dan about that yet but I think it’s going to be clear what I’m going to be doing.”
What he’ll be doing is holding the fort down on the Pens’ third line. Getting the opportunity to play the power play shouldn’t be too hard as Dan Bylsma will load up his first unit with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Filling Staal’s shoes will be hard, but he might just be better suited for the role than Staal was. Sutter has played the third line role in Carolina whereas Staal was a top six player having to play the third line because there were better guys ahead of him.