Predicting the Final Point Totals for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stars


The Pittsburgh Penguins’ offense has been firing on all cylinders during their first couple games of the season. Will they continue to put up such hefty numbers every night?

Pens Labyrinth has you covered with our predictions concerning the end-of-season point totals for the Penguins’ star players:

Sidney Crosby

Last Year: 36 goals, 68 assists, 104 points

2014-15 Prediction: 45 goals, 65 assists, 110 points

Analysis: It’s not often that a player regularly referred to as “the best in the world” is tasked with proving himself, but after a series of underwhelming postseason appearances, Sidney Crosby must do just that in 2014-15. He knows it too, and it’s showing, as Crosby has looked great thus far this season, putting up 6 points in the team’s first two games.

The scariest thing an NHL goaltender can face once the regular season begins is a healthy Crosby coming off a summer of intense training and still harbouring memories of a playoff loss that left him hungry for more.

We’ve seen time and time again where the Kid’s determination can take him, and after two summers of disappointment, Crosby will be looking to kick things up a notch this year, so as to leave no room for failure.

Look for him to put more of the scoring burden back on his shoulders and defer to his teammates less. He should rack up a higher goals total than last season, but will still tally a fair number of assists with capable linemates Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist skating alongside him.

Evgeni Malkin

Last Year: 23 goals, 49 assists, 72 points

2014-15 Prediction: 40 goals, 60 assists, 100 points

Analysis:  Like Crosby, Evgeni Malkin will have a lot to prove this season, regardless of his already historic resume. While injuries seemed like they could be an issue before the season began, Geno looked healthy and ready to roll in the Pens’ first two games, and thus, should have no problem returning to form in 2014-15.

When healthy and playing with purpose, Malkin is one of the most dominant players in the game. His unique blend of tremendous skill and powerful size make him arguably the hardest player to stop from piling up points and taking games over when he so chooses.

The big Russian will surely feel the same fire under him that Crosby will this season, as the two will look to erase last postseason’s collapse and finally take their club back to the hallowed land of the Stanley Cup Finals.

With Malkin returning to his role as the primary scoring option on the second line, look for him to shoot more and score often, while still racking up his usual bunches of assists.

Kris Letang

Last Year: 11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points

2014-15 Prediction: 15 goals, 45 assists, 60 points

Analysis: All signs point to Kris Letang having a breakout season for the Pens in 2014-15. Injury concerns will play a factor, sure, but with a revamped offense in front of him, a system that activates offense from the defense, and Letang’s determination to show he can still play with the best, the smooth-skating defender could be primed for the best statistical season of his career.

Before the health scares derailed him over the last couple seasons, Letang’s career was trending decidedly upwards. He seems to be past the injury woes this season and thus, can be expected to post some lofty totals once again.

If Matt Niskanen can put up 46 points for the Pens, Letang can shatter that number. This isn’t to knock Niskanen’s skill – he’s a great player – but there are certainly perks to playing with two of the best offensive skaters in the world.

Letang is certain to rack up some big-time assists playing behind Sid and Geno, and as long as he remains the anchor of Pittsburgh’s powerplay, he’ll have the chance to set a new career record in terms of goals.

Chris Kunitz

Last Year: 35 goals, 33 assists, 68 points

2014-15 Prediction: 35 goals, 35 assists, 70 points

Analysis: Chris Kunitz posted a career year last season, demolishing his previous highest goals-total of 26 and showing he can be one of the league’s elite scorers. As long as he remains on Crosby’s line atop the Penguins’ depth chart, that doesn’t figure to change.

Kunitz seems to get more confident each season he plays with Crosby, growing his game from that of a tenacious bulldog who would plow through opponents while Crosby deftly dipped in and out, to one who can legitimately make plays and put pucks in the net regardless of his linemates.

Having the game’s best playmaker dishing you golden opportunities certainly does help though, and so Kunitz should be able to match his goal-scoring pace from last season in 2014-15.

New linemate Hornqvist, who has looked great with the Canadian duo, may steal away a few more opportunities from Kunitz than previous linemate Pascal Dupuis, but the combination of Hornqvist’s desire to shoot everything, all the time, ever, and Kuntiz’s penchant for planting himself in front of the net for screens and tip-ins should more than make up for this in the points department.

Patric Hornqvist

Last Year: 22 goals, 31 assists, 53 points

2014-15 Predictions: 40 goals, 30 assists, 70 points

Analysis: No player in a Penguins uniform will see a more dramatic rise in production than Patric Hornqvist, who looks set to shred his previous statistical bests.

While there was some trepidation at first concerning whether or not Hornqvist could really step into Pittsburgh’s offense and be relied upon as a primary scorer, the Swede’s play to start the season has quickly put such fears to bed.

It’s not the fact that he already has 2 goals and 4 points in his first 2 games as a Penguin that makes me think Hornqvist will join the 40-goals club this year – it’s that he has already racked up 13 shots in those 2 games (not including those shots that are blocked or just off-target). That is an astounding amount of scoring opportunities, and considering the tenacity and energy that Hornqvist brings to every shift, it’s not inconceivable to imagine him shooting this often all year long.

James Neal’s 40-goal season in Pittsburgh came from a similar shoot-everything mentality, as Neal finished the year with the second-most shots in the league (behind linemate Malkin). Hornqvist seems poised for a similar situation, as he’ll be relied upon to put absolutely everything on net, allowing Kunitz and Crosby to slip in for rebounds and tip-ins.

Shooting more does certainly correlate with scoring more, as the list of the top-10 shooters in the league almost never includes players with less than 30 goals.

Couple Hornqvist’s opportunity to be among this high-shooting list this season with the fact that he’ll be receiving dishes from Crosby and Malkin all year long and 40 goals doesn’t seem out of the question.

What do you think, Pens fans? Comment below and tell us how you think the Pens’ stars will do this season!

Want more Penguins news? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest!