Pittsburgh Penguins are in Win Now Mode

With NHL Training Camps set to open in One Week, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be focusing on “Win Now Mode” for the 2022-23 NHL Season.

The Penguins just re-signed their winningest Head Coach in franchise history, Mike Sullivan for 3 more years.  You would also know that the Penguins opted to re-sign many of their own upcoming Free Agents and made No Big Free Agent Splash what – so – ever, this offseason.

So, the band is back together for another run.  Oh Well, at least you know what you have and what you are…

Penguins Waddle on Land, and Swim Fast in Water.  They Cannot Fly.  Here is hoping they can Skate Fast on Ice and Defend this year, because what could have been the “Quick Rebuild” has become the extended version of “Win Now Mode”.

Here is The Good, The Bad and The Skinny on this years Penguins Roster.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Line #1:

Guenztel #59  Crosby #87  Rakell #67

The Good:

They can Score.  Crosby is still an elite player at age 35.  Crosby will also be incredibly happy this year, with his Lifetime Penguin buddies; Letang #58 and Malkin #71 signed long term. Guentzel #59 is a legit sniper ready to explode this season.  Rakell #67 can score too.  They will be fun to watch for sure.

The Bad:

Can they Defend?  We know what two/thirds of this line can do.  What does #67 bring to this line, Offense.  However, we must ask the real question here, can he Defend in April May and June?

The Skinny:

This line will rack up points.  They must lead in the O-Zone as well as in the D-Zone, for the Penguins to succeed beyond Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs.  This line will have 6 months to figure this out.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Line #2:

Zucker #16  Malkin #71  Rust #17

The Good:

Rust #17 had a Career year last year with the Penguins.  He also parlayed that into a nice contract extension until 2027-28.  Malkin #71 came back from injury in January 2022 and gave it his best while still recovering.

The Bad:

Often injured Zucker #16, played in only 41 games.  Malkin #71 was below average defending.

The Skinny:

Malkin #71 got the contract extension he was looking for.  So, after pouting over the “will he sign or won’t he” saga, can #71 put all that behind him?  Can he play All-World and Defend like he wants to win another Cup?   Can Zucker #16 stay on the ice long enough this season to be effective?  It’s been 4 years since he played 81 games. This is the Depth the Penguins are counting on in April / May…

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


Line #3:

McGinn #23  Carter #77  Kapanen #42

The Good:

This trio can play up or down the line-up, depending on injuries and slumps.  Both McGinn #23 and Carter #77 can Defend.

The Bad:

Kapanen #42 had a terrible season last year.

The Skinny:

It’s redemption time or it’s bye bye #42.


Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Line #4:

Poehlin #25  Blueger #53  Archibald #15

The Good:

All three of these players will get their chances throughout the season,  Blueger #53 has the ability to move up and down the line-up depending on team needs.

The Bad:

Poehlin #25 only has a couple of years under his belt, playing in Montreal.  Archibald #15 has 4 years of real play time to his credit.  Can he transfer that knowledge and fit into The Penguin Way?

The Skinny:

It’s unknown what type of chemistry this unit will bring.  The Energy Line, The Lunch Bucket Brigade, The Shut Down Line or The Ride the Pine Line?

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Goalies:

Jarry #35  DeSmith #1

The Good:

Jarry #35 had a Career year last season with the Penguins.  He was in the Vezina Trophy conversation until March 2022. (Getting hurt at the end of the season was unfortunate.)

The Bad:

DeSmith #1 was suspect in the early parts of the season.  He picked up his game and played respectable in 2022.  Unfortunately, #1 got hurt against the New York Rangers in Double Overtime, of Game 1.  Another missed opportunity for DeSmith #1 to exercise some skeletons.

The Skinny:

It’s cut n dry, Jarry #35 needs to play All-World for this Penguins team to make a run.

My View from the Cheap Seats

Section: TV

Row: PVR

Seat: Couch

The Penguins opted for Win Now with who you know VS Re-Jig or Re-Build.

Letang #58-D signed for $6.1 Million over 6 years… will be 41 at the end of this contract.

Malkin #71-F signed for $6.1 Million over 4 years…will be 40 at the end of this contract.

Crosby #87 – F signed for $8.7 Million over 3 years…will be 38 at the end of this contract.

Rust #17 – F signed for $5.125 Million over 5 years…will be 36 at the end of this contract.

Rakell #67-F signed for $5 Million over 6 years…will be 35 at the end of this contract.

Carter #77 – F signed for $3.125 Million over 2 years…will be 39 at the end of this contract.

Petry #26 -D signed for $6.250 Million over 3 years…will be 37 at the end of this contract.

This group of Penguins has the long-term commitment to be able to grow old together.  From a “Team Chemistry” and a “Feel Good” standpoint, it’s nice to see.

This is also a very slippery slope for this group of Penguins, based on the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Reviewing the above,  you can see how “This Year” Must Be Their Year.

Quote of the Day:

“Life Begins at 38”

Says Everyone Who Turns 38