Pittsburgh Penguins Talk: Bold Predictions for the 2017-18 Season

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: Kris Letang
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: Kris Letang /
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Jordan Tye

As the season has officially commenced with the raising of the fifth Stanley Cup banner in Penguins history, I have three bold (somewhat) predictions for the Pittsburgh Penguins 2017-2018 Season.

1) Sidney Crosby WILL win the Hart Trophy this year.

Pretty bold right? Well considering every media outlet, both North of the border and South of it, has come to the general consensus that Connor McDavid is now the best player in the NHL, it seems this would be a bold prediction after all.

As bewildered as I am that the majority of hockey fans are accepting this as well, it seems as though people have already forgotten that Sidney Crosby is coming off of back to back Conn Smythe Awards with his complete, 200 foot game being the main reasoning behind his 2016 win, while playing a major factor in his 2017 Conn Smythe win. Sidney Crosby is one of the best competitors in all of sports, let alone hockey and if you think us Penguins faithful are a little irked at our Captain being overlooked like this, what do you think the Captain himself is thinking or feeling?  We all know quietly, in the back of Sid’s mind, he wants that Hart to hush the crowd of doubters and I believe he attains it this season once again.

2) Jim Rutherford WILL NOT address the third line center issue until the trade deadline.

As much as I’ve heard Rutherford say on multiple occasions that they have deals on the table to acquire a center, I don’t believe any option available right now is adequate enough to fill the gap left by Nick Bonino, which is why we haven’t seen Rutherford pull the trigger yet. As the season progresses and teams in both the East and West fall out of contention, more names will be made available on the market and that is when I believe we will see Rutherford acquire Bonino’s replacement, rental or not.

3) Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin WILL NOT finish the season on the same line.

I know, I know, after last night’s performance that really isn’t bold to say but I still believe a lot of the Penguins fan base believe that somehow, someway Phil Kessel will find his groove in our top 6 and well, I’m here to tell you it’s not going to happen.

What made Kessel so effective in Toronto? He was the possession guy on his line due to the fact that no one he was playing with was even close to the caliber of a Sidney Crosby or an Evgeni Malkin. In Toronto, Kessel didn’t just carry the play, he WAS the play but the biggest issue former Leafs coaches Randy Carlyle and Ron Wilson had with Kessel is far more glaring when he is paired with Malkin; Phil Kessel is a defensive liability.

Next: Three Big Takeaways to Slow Start

I really, truly believe that if we are ever discussing Kessel’s downfall in Pittsburgh, if he ever leaves like the rumors were hinting towards in the summer, it won’t be his consistently dropping goal totals or shooting percentage season by season, it will be his play away from the puck that determines his future in Pittsburgh.