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What really happened to the Penguins...

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What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:52 am

Speed...speed...speed.
Everyone here is an internet expert and genius...so before you throw out your opinion...listen to this.

The Pens are slow collectively. Very.

If nothing else on this team was different but we still had a Sheary, a Hagelin, those two alone would have made this series closer.

Why? It's the 50/50 pucks. The Islanders got 90 percent of the free pucks. Why? We've no speed.

If we had just two forwards more fleet of foot those pucks truly become 50/50. We dont win all of them but we win some. That means more puck possession. That means more shots. That means less opposition possession and less wasted energy chasing the opposition.

I'm not suggesting that we win the series. I'm not suggesting Hagelin and Sheary are saviors. It's the speed they possess that we no longer have.

Hurricanes...faster.
Capitals...faster
Bruins...faster
Leafs and Isle a lot faster.

The game is always evolving but now more than ever speed should be the number 1 coveted item.

It's a copy cat league. We set the bar on speed in 16. Teams caught up in 17 to some degree but we still had an edge.

18... the capitals were clearly faster

19...the good teams are all faster

Get some speed back and we immediately become more competitive.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Weegie on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:06 am

I remember watching when they played the Caps in the playoffs in the 2016 Cup run and being just amazed at the speed of both teams and the pace of the game, and it was like that the next year too. This year, they only showed glimpses of that speed and like you said the other teams have passed them by.

That and the boneheaded plays like pinching at the wrong time and allowing odd man rushes, passing across ice so it can be intercepted and cause a breakaway, allowing 2,000 shorthanded goals and more mistakes ....
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby penny lane on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:19 am

Speed covers up mistakes.

Now I expect a roster list of injuries: 59, 58 , 8, 19, many more. This limit their skating and shooting.

Never held the lead or built on it to play their style.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Penspal on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:23 am

penny lane wrote:Speed covers up mistakes.

Now I expect a roster list of injuries: 59, 58 , 8, 19, many more. This limit their skating and shooting.

Never held the lead or built on it to play their style.


Agreed Penny, there were definitely injuries, but the issues are deeper than both injuries and lack of speed.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Daniel on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:27 am

Weegie wrote:I remember watching when they played the Caps in the playoffs in the 2016 Cup run and being just amazed at the speed of both teams and the pace of the game, and it was like that the next year too. This year, they only showed glimpses of that speed and like you said the other teams have passed them by.

That and the boneheaded plays like pinching at the wrong time and allowing odd man rushes, passing across ice so it can be intercepted and cause a breakaway, allowing 2,000 shorthanded goals and more mistakes ....


I don't think it's an issue that teams have passed them by, I think it's an issue that the Pens haven't adjusted to that. The core is getting older and slower, no matter how much youth and speed that fact remains. Do you get so fast that Sid/Malkin can't keep up? Or do you play a more cerebral game that relies on structure and cycling? The scoring might be down with that style, but I don't think it'd be down that much. The scoring against would go down tremendously.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Jim on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:49 am

Scott wrote:Speed...speed...speed.
Everyone here is an internet expert and genius...so before you throw out your opinion...listen to this.

The Pens are slow collectively. Very.

If nothing else on this team was different but we still had a Sheary, a Hagelin, those two alone would have made this series closer.

Why? It's the 50/50 pucks. The Islanders got 90 percent of the free pucks. Why? We've no speed.

If we had just two forwards more fleet of foot those pucks truly become 50/50. We dont win all of them but we win some. That means more puck possession. That means more shots. That means less opposition possession and less wasted energy chasing the opposition.

I'm not suggesting that we win the series. I'm not suggesting Hagelin and Sheary are saviors. It's the speed they possess that we no longer have.

Hurricanes...faster.
Capitals...faster
Bruins...faster
Leafs and Isle a lot faster.

The game is always evolving but now more than ever speed should be the number 1 coveted item.

It's a copy cat league. We set the bar on speed in 16. Teams caught up in 17 to some degree but we still had an edge.

18... the capitals were clearly faster

19...the good teams are all faster

Get some speed back and we immediately become more competitive.


Time to trade Malkin then, because hi is NOT a speedy guy.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby pens_CT on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:55 am

Jim wrote:
Scott wrote:Speed...speed...speed.
Everyone here is an internet expert and genius...so before you throw out your opinion...listen to this.

The Pens are slow collectively. Very.

If nothing else on this team was different but we still had a Sheary, a Hagelin, those two alone would have made this series closer.

Why? It's the 50/50 pucks. The Islanders got 90 percent of the free pucks. Why? We've no speed.

If we had just two forwards more fleet of foot those pucks truly become 50/50. We dont win all of them but we win some. That means more puck possession. That means more shots. That means less opposition possession and less wasted energy chasing the opposition.

I'm not suggesting that we win the series. I'm not suggesting Hagelin and Sheary are saviors. It's the speed they possess that we no longer have.

Hurricanes...faster.
Capitals...faster
Bruins...faster
Leafs and Isle a lot faster.

The game is always evolving but now more than ever speed should be the number 1 coveted item.

It's a copy cat league. We set the bar on speed in 16. Teams caught up in 17 to some degree but we still had an edge.

18... the capitals were clearly faster

19...the good teams are all faster

Get some speed back and we immediately become more competitive.


Time to trade Malkin then, because hi is NOT a speedy guy.


We need twelve Hagelin's for the forward grouping. We won't score much but damn we'll win every race to a loose puck.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Badger Bob on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:57 am

Don't forget that Malkin has a No Trade Clause in his contract. He has to agree to any deal. Kessel has a modified NTC as does Letang. Sure you can say trade these guys, but it's easier said than done.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:57 am

Daniel wrote:
Weegie wrote:I remember watching when they played the Caps in the playoffs in the 2016 Cup run and being just amazed at the speed of both teams and the pace of the game, and it was like that the next year too. This year, they only showed glimpses of that speed and like you said the other teams have passed them by.

That and the boneheaded plays like pinching at the wrong time and allowing odd man rushes, passing across ice so it can be intercepted and cause a breakaway, allowing 2,000 shorthanded goals and more mistakes ....


I don't think it's an issue that teams have passed them by, I think it's an issue that the Pens haven't adjusted to that. The core is getting older and slower, no matter how much youth and speed that fact remains. Do you get so fast that Sid/Malkin can't keep up? Or do you play a more cerebral game that relies on structure and cycling? The scoring might be down with that style, but I don't think it'd be down that much. The scoring against would go down tremendously.

Disagree completely.

See this is the problem. Everyone is an expert and thinks there is some all magic potion and low down deep issues to be addressed.

When we won in 16 and 17 we didn't have a roster full of speedy skaters. We still had...Lovejoy, MAATTA who is the slowest skater in the NHL...Cullen...Bonino...Hainsey...and on and on.

You dont need speed at all 18 spots...you just need some.

Kessel is still fast enough. Rust is too.

Crosby, Malkin and Guentzel and even Kessel to a point all have the offensive talent.

It's the slow window dressing that needs improved.

Just remember...there is so much more to the game than just scoring. What leads to the scoring over the course of a series is crucial and there is no stat to find that. It's a simple eye test.

A 50/50 puck. Time of possession not from any one individual but collectively. That stuff is absolutely paramount. It exhausts the other team chasing all game long.

If we had two more fast forwards in this series even if they hadn't scored you can bet the ice would have been more level.

I promise that.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Penguins Knight on Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:05 am

Several things went wrong for the Penguins:
  • Floating and coasting
  • Finesse passing
  • Power plays were killed off and shorthanded goals allowed
  • Camping out in the defense zone not clearing the puck or giving the puck away

The Penguins can score. Scoring is not the problem.

The Penguins being slow is a problem. Being slow produces the aforementioned problems. The Penguins need to be faster.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:07 am

Jim wrote:
Scott wrote:Speed...speed...speed.
Everyone here is an internet expert and genius...so before you throw out your opinion...listen to this.

The Pens are slow collectively. Very.

If nothing else on this team was different but we still had a Sheary, a Hagelin, those two alone would have made this series closer.

Why? It's the 50/50 pucks. The Islanders got 90 percent of the free pucks. Why? We've no speed.

If we had just two forwards more fleet of foot those pucks truly become 50/50. We dont win all of them but we win some. That means more puck possession. That means more shots. That means less opposition possession and less wasted energy chasing the opposition.

I'm not suggesting that we win the series. I'm not suggesting Hagelin and Sheary are saviors. It's the speed they possess that we no longer have.

Hurricanes...faster.
Capitals...faster
Bruins...faster
Leafs and Isle a lot faster.

The game is always evolving but now more than ever speed should be the number 1 coveted item.

It's a copy cat league. We set the bar on speed in 16. Teams caught up in 17 to some degree but we still had an edge.

18... the capitals were clearly faster

19...the good teams are all faster

Get some speed back and we immediately become more competitive.


Time to trade Malkin then, because hi is NOT a speedy guy.


Love the inTRAnet sarcastic ass necks.

Malkin isn't going anywhere. Nor should he.

The supporting cast needs to be faster. Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Kessel...they need help.

It's a few guys rolling amid four lines that change everything.

Or not.

Our defense looks a lot better playing against tired forwards.

We're not as far away as the panic button pushers like to think.

Get a few fast forwards off the farm or trade for some.

No matter the supporting cast needs more speed.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Daniel on Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:25 am

Scott wrote:
Daniel wrote:
Weegie wrote:I remember watching when they played the Caps in the playoffs in the 2016 Cup run and being just amazed at the speed of both teams and the pace of the game, and it was like that the next year too. This year, they only showed glimpses of that speed and like you said the other teams have passed them by.

That and the boneheaded plays like pinching at the wrong time and allowing odd man rushes, passing across ice so it can be intercepted and cause a breakaway, allowing 2,000 shorthanded goals and more mistakes ....


I don't think it's an issue that teams have passed them by, I think it's an issue that the Pens haven't adjusted to that. The core is getting older and slower, no matter how much youth and speed that fact remains. Do you get so fast that Sid/Malkin can't keep up? Or do you play a more cerebral game that relies on structure and cycling? The scoring might be down with that style, but I don't think it'd be down that much. The scoring against would go down tremendously.

Disagree completely.

See this is the problem. Everyone is an expert and thinks there is some all magic potion and low down deep issues to be addressed.

When we won in 16 and 17 we didn't have a roster full of speedy skaters. We still had...Lovejoy, MAATTA who is the slowest skater in the NHL...Cullen...Bonino...Hainsey...and on and on.

You dont need speed at all 18 spots...you just need some.

Kessel is still fast enough. Rust is too.

Crosby, Malkin and Guentzel and even Kessel to a point all have the offensive talent.

It's the slow window dressing that needs improved.

Just remember...there is so much more to the game than just scoring. What leads to the scoring over the course of a series is crucial and there is no stat to find that. It's a simple eye test.

A 50/50 puck. Time of possession not from any one individual but collectively. That stuff is absolutely paramount. It exhausts the other team chasing all game long.

If we had two more fast forwards in this series even if they hadn't scored you can bet the ice would have been more level.

I promise that.


There isn't a magical potion, but there are several ways to win the cup. And who ever claimed to be an expert? If you don't want a rational debate, let me know so I can quit responding.

I don't think Sid and Geno and Phil can keep up with a speed game anymore and getting faster players will just emphasis that. All three are slowing down and will continue to slow down, but that doesn't mean their skills are diminishing. The system has always revolved around the skillset of Sid and Geno and I think it needs to adjust to the fact that they've slowed down.

Again, there are multiple ways to win the cup, relying on speed from superstars that are slowing down is a bad thing. Sid had his best season in a long time, but notice he started to adjust his game like Yzerman did when he started slowing down?
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:39 am

Daniel wrote:
There isn't a magical potion, but there are several ways to win the cup. And who ever claimed to be an expert? If you don't want a rational debate, let me know so I can quit responding.

I don't think Sid and Geno and Phil can keep up with a speed game anymore and getting faster players will just emphasis that. All three are slowing down and will continue to slow down, but that doesn't mean their skills are diminishing. The system has always revolved around the skillset of Sid and Geno and I think it needs to adjust to the fact that they've slowed down.

Again, there are multiple ways to win the cup, relying on speed from superstars that are slowing down is a bad thing. Sid had his best season in a long time, but notice he started to adjust his game like Yzerman did when he started slowing down?


Was Malkin ever a speed demon? No. Crosby always had above average speed but not the fastest.

Tho think they can't play with faster players is silly. They aren't much slower than they've ever been because they were never the fastest. They can however get help.

There used to be many ways to win the cup.

Not any longer. Its speed. Not all 18 guys but you need speed littered throughout the lineup.

Look at the teams in the playoffs. Every team including the Lightning are all faster than the Pens. Every single one.

You can think there are many ways to win a cup but I can assure you no matter the way you think can win it WON'T happen without speed.

The supporting cast needs to be faster.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Jim on Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:18 am

Scott wrote:
Jim wrote:
Scott wrote:Speed...speed...speed.
Everyone here is an internet expert and genius...so before you throw out your opinion...listen to this.

The Pens are slow collectively. Very.

If nothing else on this team was different but we still had a Sheary, a Hagelin, those two alone would have made this series closer.

Why? It's the 50/50 pucks. The Islanders got 90 percent of the free pucks. Why? We've no speed.

If we had just two forwards more fleet of foot those pucks truly become 50/50. We dont win all of them but we win some. That means more puck possession. That means more shots. That means less opposition possession and less wasted energy chasing the opposition.

I'm not suggesting that we win the series. I'm not suggesting Hagelin and Sheary are saviors. It's the speed they possess that we no longer have.

Hurricanes...faster.
Capitals...faster
Bruins...faster
Leafs and Isle a lot faster.

The game is always evolving but now more than ever speed should be the number 1 coveted item.

It's a copy cat league. We set the bar on speed in 16. Teams caught up in 17 to some degree but we still had an edge.

18... the capitals were clearly faster

19...the good teams are all faster

Get some speed back and we immediately become more competitive.


Time to trade Malkin then, because hi is NOT a speedy guy.


Love the inTRAnet sarcastic ass necks.

Malkin isn't going anywhere. Nor should he.

The supporting cast needs to be faster. Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Kessel...they need help.

It's a few guys rolling amid four lines that change everything.

Or not.

Our defense looks a lot better playing against tired forwards.

We're not as far away as the panic button pushers like to think.

Get a few fast forwards off the farm or trade for some.

No matter the supporting cast needs more speed.


So you have no interest in actually improving the team. Got it.

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Badger Bob on Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:18 pm

Jason Mackey just did a piece on who may go and who will probably stay:

Breaking down the Penguins’ roster and potential movement
Jason Mackey
APR 17, 2019 11:53 AM

The 2019-20 Penguins will look different than the group you saw take the ice this year, the result of their four-game flameout to the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

While the precise direction of those changes is not yet known — it is less than 24 hours after their season ended — those on the roster can be separated into a few categories, ranging from locks to stay, most likely to go and a few question marks.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how the Penguins roster breaks down when analyzing the 2018-19 season and what could lie ahead.

Likely on the move

Phil Kessel — Some things just run their course. Kessel helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup twice, and he’s one of the most popular athletes in this city. He’ll also turn 32 in October, counts $6.8 million against their salary cap, scored two even-strength goals in his final 32 regular-season games and was a career-worst minus-19. It’s nothing personal, but if the Penguins are looking for a shakeup — they should be after the worst postseason showing of this era — moving Kessel makes sense. With three more years on his contract, it might be time to cut bait a year or two early rather than a year or two late.

Olli Maatta — You won’t find a harder worker or better person. You also won’t find a more replaceable player. Between Erik Gudbranson and even Juuso Riikola, the Penguins now find themselves with a surplus of defensemen. Maatta makes $4.1 million. He’s still only 24 and has won the Cup twice. Surely the Penguins can free up some money here.

Matt Cullen — The Penguins love Cullen for his leadership and presence. Like Maatta, he’s impossible not to like. But sooner or later, they have to turn things over to the kids. Teddy Blueger is more than ready. Plus, Cullen has dropped some not-so-subtle hints that it’ll likely be retirement for him after the season.

Garrett Wilson — Hard to see the Penguins bringing back their other unrestricted free agent among the forwards, at least to the NHL club. Maybe the Penguins — who should be looking to get younger and faster and feature more skill on their wings — would want Wilson back as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain. But after playing 50 NHL games this season, Wilson will probably want to see if he can avoid the minors.

Potentially on the move

Patric Hornqvist — It would’ve been hard to envision Hornqvist being anything other than a lock to stay when he signed his five-year contract extension in February 2018. But at this point, $5.3 million a year for a winger with a history of concussion issues who has suddenly stopped scoring should be scary. A move here would be tough to see given how much the Penguins love Hornqvist’s hard-nosed style — but if someone is interested, it’s doubtful general manager Jim Rutherford hangs up the phone.

Nick Bjugstad — When the Penguins acquired Bjugstad, they envisioned him as a potential top-six winger. Where did that go? Bjugstad got only a handful of chances there and never did much with them. At $4.1 million per season, the Penguins are paying out more than they should for 14 goals and 26 points, especially when you consider that Blueger’s ready, they have Jared McCann, and whomever plays third-line center for the Penguins should have an advantage because Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are drawing the toughest matchups. To put it another way: It’s not worth overpaying for this spot.

Erik Gudbranson — This comes down to speed. If the Penguins feel like they can address their speed on defense another way, then Gudbranson should stay; he might’ve been their best defenseman in the playoffs, and his physical presence is something the Penguins probably would like to keep. Also, even if they thought about trading Gudbranson, it could be tough. Are other teams scared off by his $4 million cap hit and his pre-Penguins problems?

Question marks

Kris Letang — After one of the best regular seasons of his career, Letang was a disaster in the playoffs, often taking unnecessary risks that blew up in his face. If Letang was hurt, that could explain it. But it also might create deeper problems for the Penguins, especially if he was dealing with a neck-related issue. Letang is 31 and makes $7.25 million. There’s plenty of mileage on the tires, the Penguins were successful with the stripped-down style they employed without their No. 1 defenseman, and a trade could be difficult given Letang’s checkered injury history. At his best, Letang also remains one of the game’s elite players at his position. An interesting question, to be sure.

Jack Johnson — You’d think the Penguins would jump at the opportunity to move that contract — four more years at $3.25 million per season — especially if they’re looking to get faster on the back end. The problem is: Who would want to take it? Johnson was on the ice for the most goals-against (60), scoring chances (608) and high-danger chances allowed (259) among Penguins defensemen during five-on-five play. He wasn’t nearly as bad as some fans might want to believe, but he’s probably not someone other teams are going to covet, either.

Bryan Rust — Might be a pot-sweetener more than anything if the Penguins feel like they can add speed on the wings another, cheaper way. Rust showed he was capable of scoring — 15 goals in a 27-game stretch — while also going long periods of time without scoring (one goal in his first 29, two in his final 20). For $3.5 million per season, you’d probably like a little more consistency. But ultimately, Rust helped the Penguins more than he hurts them.

Staying right here

Sidney Crosby — The Penguins captain was bad against the Islanders, but he’s coming off one of the best two-way seasons of his career, for long stretches lugging this team around like a “Weekend at Bernie’s” sequel. Funnel your fury elsewhere.

Evgeni Malkin — This wouldn’t even be general manager Jim Rutherford’s call to make … not that he’d ever want to be the one who traded Malkin. Yes, Malkin struggled for a large part of this season — 21 goals, 72 points, a minus-25, the worst statistical season of his career. But this wouldn’t be pressing the panic button. It would be smashing it with a sledgehammer.

Jake Guentzel — Coming off a 40-goal season, his $6 million a year extension kicks in next season. Move along …

Matt Murray — Whether the Penguins extend Murray over the summer is worth monitoring, but there’s zero question whether he’ll be their goaltender next season. He might’ve been their best player over the final six weeks of the regular season — he was durable, too — although it didn’t seem to carry over much into the playoffs.

Brian Dumoulin — No question involving his ability. Dumoulin remains one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen. However, they might need to keep him in bubble wrap. He became a magnet for injuries this season.

Jared McCann — Although McCann failed to score over his final nine games, he’s unquestionably an important building block given his team-friendly contract ($1.25 million through 2020) and how his speed and skill seemed to mesh with the Penguins’ system.

Dominik Simon — Given Simon’s usage, co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux might be more likely to go. Seriously, though, he’s under contract for next season. Is there a way to get more than two goals in 42 games out of a guy you use on the top line? Better yet, maybe don’t use the guy with two goals in his final 42 games on the top line.

Zach Aston-Reese — If Dumoulin has extra bubble wrap, maybe ZAR could borrow some. Aston-Reese was fine, but he was hurt a lot. It had to disrupt his development. The focus should be Aston-Reese asserting himself more, the same as it’s been for the past two summers.

Teddy Blueger — With six goals in his first 28 NHL games, you’d think Blueger is ready for regular duty. Then again, the Penguins said he was ready last summer and showed a strange, prolonged aversion to actually using the Latvian-born center.

Marcus Pettersson — Similar to McCann, Rutherford did well to exchange Daniel Sprong for Pettersson, an important part of the Penguins’ on-the-fly rebuild. A restricted free agent, Pettersson should come relatively cheap; he made just $794,167 last season. He’ll absolutely be one of their top-six defensemen.

Justin Schultz — Next year will be no issue, as Schultz is under contract for $5.5 million. And although they could explore a potential trade, it’s hard to see how they get better with that happening. Solid defenseman. Mobile. Can produce offense and quarterback the power play. After that contract expires could provide some intrigue, although that’s not a bridge the Penguins have to cross now.

Casey DeSmith — Backup goalie signed for three more years at $1.25 million. Has a career 2.66 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Take that every time.




I also think GMJR should consider bringing in a veteran goaltender that would push Murray more. Although, I think Murray's woes may be more connected to them letting Bales go as a goalie coach rather than Fleury's departure.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Daniel on Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:41 pm

Badger Bob wrote:Jason Mackey just did a piece on who may go and who will probably stay:

Breaking down the Penguins’ roster and potential movement
Jason Mackey
APR 17, 2019 11:53 AM

The 2019-20 Penguins will look different than the group you saw take the ice this year, the result of their four-game flameout to the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

While the precise direction of those changes is not yet known — it is less than 24 hours after their season ended — those on the roster can be separated into a few categories, ranging from locks to stay, most likely to go and a few question marks.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how the Penguins roster breaks down when analyzing the 2018-19 season and what could lie ahead.

Likely on the move

Phil Kessel — Some things just run their course. Kessel helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup twice, and he’s one of the most popular athletes in this city. He’ll also turn 32 in October, counts $6.8 million against their salary cap, scored two even-strength goals in his final 32 regular-season games and was a career-worst minus-19. It’s nothing personal, but if the Penguins are looking for a shakeup — they should be after the worst postseason showing of this era — moving Kessel makes sense. With three more years on his contract, it might be time to cut bait a year or two early rather than a year or two late.

Olli Maatta — You won’t find a harder worker or better person. You also won’t find a more replaceable player. Between Erik Gudbranson and even Juuso Riikola, the Penguins now find themselves with a surplus of defensemen. Maatta makes $4.1 million. He’s still only 24 and has won the Cup twice. Surely the Penguins can free up some money here.

Matt Cullen — The Penguins love Cullen for his leadership and presence. Like Maatta, he’s impossible not to like. But sooner or later, they have to turn things over to the kids. Teddy Blueger is more than ready. Plus, Cullen has dropped some not-so-subtle hints that it’ll likely be retirement for him after the season.

Garrett Wilson — Hard to see the Penguins bringing back their other unrestricted free agent among the forwards, at least to the NHL club. Maybe the Penguins — who should be looking to get younger and faster and feature more skill on their wings — would want Wilson back as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain. But after playing 50 NHL games this season, Wilson will probably want to see if he can avoid the minors.

Potentially on the move

Patric Hornqvist — It would’ve been hard to envision Hornqvist being anything other than a lock to stay when he signed his five-year contract extension in February 2018. But at this point, $5.3 million a year for a winger with a history of concussion issues who has suddenly stopped scoring should be scary. A move here would be tough to see given how much the Penguins love Hornqvist’s hard-nosed style — but if someone is interested, it’s doubtful general manager Jim Rutherford hangs up the phone.

Nick Bjugstad — When the Penguins acquired Bjugstad, they envisioned him as a potential top-six winger. Where did that go? Bjugstad got only a handful of chances there and never did much with them. At $4.1 million per season, the Penguins are paying out more than they should for 14 goals and 26 points, especially when you consider that Blueger’s ready, they have Jared McCann, and whomever plays third-line center for the Penguins should have an advantage because Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are drawing the toughest matchups. To put it another way: It’s not worth overpaying for this spot.

Erik Gudbranson — This comes down to speed. If the Penguins feel like they can address their speed on defense another way, then Gudbranson should stay; he might’ve been their best defenseman in the playoffs, and his physical presence is something the Penguins probably would like to keep. Also, even if they thought about trading Gudbranson, it could be tough. Are other teams scared off by his $4 million cap hit and his pre-Penguins problems?

Question marks

Kris Letang — After one of the best regular seasons of his career, Letang was a disaster in the playoffs, often taking unnecessary risks that blew up in his face. If Letang was hurt, that could explain it. But it also might create deeper problems for the Penguins, especially if he was dealing with a neck-related issue. Letang is 31 and makes $7.25 million. There’s plenty of mileage on the tires, the Penguins were successful with the stripped-down style they employed without their No. 1 defenseman, and a trade could be difficult given Letang’s checkered injury history. At his best, Letang also remains one of the game’s elite players at his position. An interesting question, to be sure.

Jack Johnson — You’d think the Penguins would jump at the opportunity to move that contract — four more years at $3.25 million per season — especially if they’re looking to get faster on the back end. The problem is: Who would want to take it? Johnson was on the ice for the most goals-against (60), scoring chances (608) and high-danger chances allowed (259) among Penguins defensemen during five-on-five play. He wasn’t nearly as bad as some fans might want to believe, but he’s probably not someone other teams are going to covet, either.

Bryan Rust — Might be a pot-sweetener more than anything if the Penguins feel like they can add speed on the wings another, cheaper way. Rust showed he was capable of scoring — 15 goals in a 27-game stretch — while also going long periods of time without scoring (one goal in his first 29, two in his final 20). For $3.5 million per season, you’d probably like a little more consistency. But ultimately, Rust helped the Penguins more than he hurts them.

Staying right here

Sidney Crosby — The Penguins captain was bad against the Islanders, but he’s coming off one of the best two-way seasons of his career, for long stretches lugging this team around like a “Weekend at Bernie’s” sequel. Funnel your fury elsewhere.

Evgeni Malkin — This wouldn’t even be general manager Jim Rutherford’s call to make … not that he’d ever want to be the one who traded Malkin. Yes, Malkin struggled for a large part of this season — 21 goals, 72 points, a minus-25, the worst statistical season of his career. But this wouldn’t be pressing the panic button. It would be smashing it with a sledgehammer.

Jake Guentzel — Coming off a 40-goal season, his $6 million a year extension kicks in next season. Move along …

Matt Murray — Whether the Penguins extend Murray over the summer is worth monitoring, but there’s zero question whether he’ll be their goaltender next season. He might’ve been their best player over the final six weeks of the regular season — he was durable, too — although it didn’t seem to carry over much into the playoffs.

Brian Dumoulin — No question involving his ability. Dumoulin remains one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen. However, they might need to keep him in bubble wrap. He became a magnet for injuries this season.

Jared McCann — Although McCann failed to score over his final nine games, he’s unquestionably an important building block given his team-friendly contract ($1.25 million through 2020) and how his speed and skill seemed to mesh with the Penguins’ system.

Dominik Simon — Given Simon’s usage, co-owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux might be more likely to go. Seriously, though, he’s under contract for next season. Is there a way to get more than two goals in 42 games out of a guy you use on the top line? Better yet, maybe don’t use the guy with two goals in his final 42 games on the top line.

Zach Aston-Reese — If Dumoulin has extra bubble wrap, maybe ZAR could borrow some. Aston-Reese was fine, but he was hurt a lot. It had to disrupt his development. The focus should be Aston-Reese asserting himself more, the same as it’s been for the past two summers.

Teddy Blueger — With six goals in his first 28 NHL games, you’d think Blueger is ready for regular duty. Then again, the Penguins said he was ready last summer and showed a strange, prolonged aversion to actually using the Latvian-born center.

Marcus Pettersson — Similar to McCann, Rutherford did well to exchange Daniel Sprong for Pettersson, an important part of the Penguins’ on-the-fly rebuild. A restricted free agent, Pettersson should come relatively cheap; he made just $794,167 last season. He’ll absolutely be one of their top-six defensemen.

Justin Schultz — Next year will be no issue, as Schultz is under contract for $5.5 million. And although they could explore a potential trade, it’s hard to see how they get better with that happening. Solid defenseman. Mobile. Can produce offense and quarterback the power play. After that contract expires could provide some intrigue, although that’s not a bridge the Penguins have to cross now.

Casey DeSmith — Backup goalie signed for three more years at $1.25 million. Has a career 2.66 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. Take that every time.




I also think GMJR should consider bringing in a veteran goaltender that would push Murray more. Although, I think Murray's woes may be more connected to them letting Bales go as a goalie coach rather than Fleury's departure.


I wouldn't mind Jarry being that goalie to be honest with you. The two were a pretty good tandem at WBS, so it seems like Jarry can push Murray to be better. Unless they get a really good trade for Jarry, I'd rather see them move DeSmith.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:58 pm

Badger Bob wrote:

I also think GMJR should consider bringing in a veteran goaltender that would push Murray more. Although, I think Murray's woes may be more connected to them letting Bales go as a goalie coach rather than Fleury's departure.

I seen that.

Is he new to hockey and the salary cap?

Players that will be a problem getting rid of....
Phil...and the PG clown has him first on the list.

Phil makes too much. Nobody is taking on that money for return.

Maatta? Slowest skater in the NHL. He makes 4 million too much. He's lost in playoff hockey.

Get two fast wingers. The scoring doesn't matter. They just need elite speed and suddenly the Pens are a much tougher team. Two guys. Three is wonderful.

Farm system have any? I dont know that.

Trades? Well you have to give up something that another team is willing to take.

Who might that be?

Letang?
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Jim on Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:05 pm

Wow, the 42 year old and the AHLer on the move...??? Wow, bold predictions there Mackey.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Skatingpen on Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:34 pm

Speed is needed in the supporting cast, the main core is just fine. Unfortunately the pens trading draft picks like candy has left them with nothing in the minors, that is the problem. No young legs to support the core. Not that hard
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Scott on Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:54 pm

Skatingpen wrote:Speed is needed in the supporting cast, the main core is just fine. Unfortunately the pens trading draft picks like candy has left them with nothing in the minors, that is the problem. No young legs to support the core. Not that hard


Exactly. I'm not worried about the draft picks. Drafting in hockey is nowhere near as critical as football. Baseball is similar.

Most picks aren't ready to immediately help anyways. Yes you can mess up selecting the wrong guys when picking high...but by and large you can trade guys here and there in the minors to help the cause.

The biggest problems are the roster spots.

Nobody will take Kessel, Maatta, Hornqvist etc etc. They make way too much for the production given.

Letang is a possibility but I'm not sure his NTC

Absolutely must get collectively faster
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Skatingpen on Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:22 pm

Agree Hornqvist can’t be traded with his salary, age and production. Just like Johnson....... maybe Maatta because he is young.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Antonio on Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:39 pm

Nobody will take Kessel for his production against his salary? That is the dumbest thing I've ever read. He score a point per game and makes 6.8m. He is arguably one of the best bargains with regards to point production in the league.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby brwi on Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:51 pm

Scott wrote:Was Malkin ever a speed demon? No. Crosby always had above average speed but not the fastest.

Tho think they can't play with faster players is silly. They aren't much slower than they've ever been because they were never the fastest. They can however get help.

There used to be many ways to win the cup.

Not any longer. Its speed. Not all 18 guys but you need speed littered throughout the lineup.

Discounting the very immobile blueline, Pens don't have a speed problem and if speed was the main factor in winning cups, TB would have had no problem walking through Washington last year or Columbus(slowest team in the playoffs) this year. Montreal would be heading for round 2 in the playoffs right now. Speed helps but the Pens forwards have enough and it's not an issue now or vs. the Isles who aren't any faster than the Pens.

It's a disconnect between the system and the personnel on the ice. When Pens can transition, they fly. When they get frustrated, they stop skating hard. It's not the lack of speed available.

Columbus is not a fast team, they play the NZT 100% and safety first hockey. That dominated thoroughly the speed advantage TB has. The Isles are not a fast team but they play the Trotz system and aggressive forecheck and had more desire than the Pens. Their 4th line bottling up Sid's line wasn't due to Martin-Clutterbuck-Cizikas being real fast on the forecheck, it was double teaming the dman in the corner who was first to the puck and not making a play.
Look at the teams in the playoffs. Every team including the Lightning are all faster than the Pens. Every single one.

Isles are about the same as the Pens, B's and Caps in speed. Maybe Caps with a slight edge after the Hagelin addition but it sure wasn't any speed advantage the Caps used on the way to winning last year's cup, beating faster teams along the way. BJ's easily the slowest and Toronto above all in team speed. TB next, then Canes.
You can think there are many ways to win a cup but I can assure you no matter the way you think can win it WON'T happen without speed.

No, the Kings or Ducks or Flyers won't be winning the cup next year without major overhauls to their plodding rosters, but speed is just one factor and I'd say it isn't the most important. System+talent working together 100% and peaking as a team at the right time wins cups. Nothing wrong with more speed if it adds value to the roster.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby RentedMule66 on Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Penguins Knight wrote:Several things went wrong for the Penguins:
  • Floating and coasting
  • Finesse passing
  • Power plays were killed off and shorthanded goals allowed
  • Camping out in the defense zone not clearing the puck or giving the puck away

The Penguins can score. Scoring is not the problem.

The Penguins being slow is a problem. Being slow produces the aforementioned problems. The Penguins need to be faster.


They scored 1 goal in 3 of the 4 games this series. Scoring is a problem too.
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Re: What really happened to the Penguins...

Postby Pitts on Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:32 pm

This is a fabulous piece on what when wrong and exactly when it began:

https://nhl.nbcsports.com/2019/04/17/pe ... he-making/
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