It seems as if we’re all still getting over the hard truth that the Pittsburgh Penguins have been eliminated from the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Pittsburgh Penguins unfortunately lost to the Washington Capitals in the second round and have officially started their offseason. While players may take some time off for themselves, the Penguins management staff’s jobs are just getting started once again.
It’s time to start thinking about the future. Where should the Penguins be headed going forward? Are we still contenders? Do we need to fix our roster? Should we blow it up? After falling short of the three-peat, it’s hard not to think the team is headed for a decline. But alas, I can assure you that that should not be the case with out Pens. The Penguins roster is actually in a very good position. And although we may not have won it all this year, we can still continue to contend next season.
The Penguins have their offensive core of Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby still locked up for a while. These three are not even old and will keep producing well into their late 30’s. I’d throw in Jake Guentzel in that core as well since he has become a known performer for us, especially in the playoffs. Lucky for us, he’s still only 23 and will still be on his entry-level contract for another season. This saves a ton of cap space for a very effective player.
This offseason, we really only have to worry about re-signing Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Carter Rowney. While their contracts are important, they are smaller ones that I’m sure we can handle easily. If the Penguins decide to part ways with any of them, we should still be OK with exploring replacements for them without messing up the strength of our core.
Blue-Line Still Solid
Jamie Oleksiak is our only free agent on our blue line and lucky for us, he’s a restricted free agent. Honestly, Matt Hunwick is a defenceman who I feel needs to go, and I would like to explore possible new defenceman this offseason. Other than that, just like our offensive core, our defensive core is locked up for the most part as well.
Goaltending Still Solid
Let’s face it, Matt Murray is the only one that matters here. And other than that, Casey DeSmith is still put away for another season at least. Tristan Jerry is also coming up soon and can be a solid backup if not starter. We have more than enough room to make changes here and given Murray’s young age and ceiling, we’re just getting started with him. We are in a great situation goaltending wise and it can only get better from here.
The Pittsburgh Penguins may have been eliminated from the playoffs, but our team is still strong. We aren’t facing much cap issues or an aging core like other Cup winners have in the past. As you can tell, the Pittsburgh Penguins definitely still have time left and a roster that is still great enough to contend for years to come.