The Pittsburgh Penguins have a storied history. Established in1967, the Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals six times, winning it five times; 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016, 2017.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have made it to the NHL Playoffs for a record 16 consecutive seasons.
During this time, the Pens have had their fair share of ups and downs. How can we forget the lean early years or their bankruptcies.
Those lean years however, laid the foundation for drafting some of the Best Players ever to play in the NHL. Here is a quick list of the iconic First Round Pittsburgh Penguin Players; Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, oh and Sidney Crosby. (aka – The Penguin Way)
So, it just goes to show you, that Karma does try to balance all things out.
I wanted to create my All-Time Penguins First Line. I had to make some position adjustments in order to create the best line possible, you know, cause I’m competitive…lol.
Mario Lemieux #66 – Shoots Right
Super Mario helped save the Franchise, when they drafted him in 1984-85. His 1723 points is tops on the All-Time Penguins Leaderboard. Mario is also 8th on the All-Time NHL Points list. He played the game with such ease.
I always felt that he needed to skate harder. The reality was, he skated with such grace, that it looked effortless to us mortals. Clutch and Grab was allowed back then and his Health issues also slowed him down.
I would have loved to have seen what a healthy Mario could have done to the league.
Mario was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP in the Playoffs in 1991 and 1992.
Lemieux was the NHL Art Ross Trophy winner, as the leagues Top Scorer in 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, and 1997
Super Mario was the Hart Trophy winner as the leagues MVP in 1988, 1993 and 1996.
Sidney Crosby #87 – Shoots Left
Yes, I know Crosby is a center. I’m moving him to LW, so I can create the best attack…lol.
The Penguins were saved again in 2005, with the drafting of Sid the Kid. Crosby lands second on the All-Time Penguins Leaderboard, with 1457 Points and counting. Sid is also 18th on the All-Time NHL Points list, and counting.
Sid is the best all around player in the NHL, and has been, since he arrived in the NHL. His overall skillset is off the charts. He can skate, shoot and pass like no others. He has the ability to protect the puck and still see the ice in order to make amazing plays. It is such a treat to watch him play at such a high level for so long.
Sidney was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP in the Playoffs in 2016 and 2017.
Crosby was the NHL Art Ross Trophy winner, as the leagues Top Scorer in 2007 and 2014.
Sid the Kid was the Hart Trophy winner as the leagues MVP in 2007 and 2014.
Jaromir Jagr #68 – Shoots Left
One of the Missing Pieces in order to win the Penguins First Ever Stanley Cup, was added in 1990. Jagr lands Fourth on the All-Time Penguins Leaderboard, with 1079 Points. Jaromir is also 2nd on the All-Time NHL Points list with 1921.
I know he played with the Penguins for 11 of his 24 NHL years. However, these were his best years.
Jagr was a beast and a trifecta player, who had Size, Speed and Skill, not many others could match him along the boards, in the corners, as well as on the ice. He was Robin to our Super Mario Batman.
Jaromir was the NHL Art Ross Trophy winner, as the leagues Top Scorer in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.
Jagr was the Hart Trophy winner as the leagues MVP in 1999.
I understand how the Penguins faithful would rather have Malkin on the line, and rightfully so.
I know Malkin is Third on the All-Time Penguins Leaderboard and 52nd on the All-Time NHL Points list, with1185 and counting.
I am aware that #71 brought the Pens 3 Stanley Cups, 1 Conn Smythe and 2 Art Ross Trophies.
My thinking was how to actually construct an actual Hockey Line that would play in a game., I would simply rather have Jagr’s body type and skill set vs Malkin’s. I think Jagr makes them a tougher line to play against, than it would with Malkin.
In my humble opinion, I feel that my forward line of #66, #87 and #68 is a better Hockey Line. Period. What’s your thoughts?
Paul Coffey #77 – Shoots Left
Another Key Missing Piece in the Penguins First Ever Stanley Cup was obtaining Paul Coffey in a Trade with the Edmonton Oilers back in 1987.
The Oilers were dismantling their dynasty and trying to re-load, while the Penguins were creating their run. Picking up Coffey, helped the Penguins move up into the Next Level contender category in 1987-1988.
I know Bobby Orr changed hockey by attacking from his own end of the rink. I also understand that other D-Men, in the early days, may have “Attacked the O-Zone from the Trailer Position”.
I really believe that Coffey revived it or created it, depending on how you define it. I will say that he certainly perfected it. More teams today, either use this strategy as a offensive option or at least, they should. Coffey was one of the purest skaters in league history. Period.
Coffey was the NHL Norris Trophy winner, as the leagues Top Defensive Player in 1985, 1986, and 1995.
Kris Letang #58 – Shoots Right
The Penguins hit the jackpot in the 2005 Draft. Already drafting Crosby, the Pens then set their sights on Letang. Bingo 3rd Round (62 overall), he enters Penguin Land.
Another smooth skater who “Attacks from the Back”, as well as quarterbacks the Power Play. A huge part of the Penguins Core over the years, whereby even personal health issues have not kept this paramount Penguins Player away from the ice, for very long.
Marc-Andre Fleury #29
The 2003 draft brought the Pens, their Goalie of the Future. And in 2005, he joined Crosby, then Letang and Malkin, to form the Penguins Core Four. Always with a smile on his face, Fleury was the calming, stabilizing, Rock-Solid force behind the Penguins, on their road to success.
Marc-Andre was the NHL Vezina Trophy winner for the Best Goalie in the League in 2021
Fleury was the William M. Jennings Trophy winner for the Leagues Best Goals Against Average in 2021.
My View from the Cheap Seats
I had a lot of fun putting this line-up together. I wonder how well they would play together in a video game sim against other All-Time Lineups.
There is always a Great Debate when comparing players and teams from different eras. The fact is, we can have different opinions, yet we are all still fans of the Player, the Team or the Game.
At it’s core, it’s this Love for the Game, that is the common element that binds us together.
I Love It. I think it’s simply Fan-Tas-Tic. The Debate Starts Now…enjoy.
Honorable Mentions…Line Two maybe?
C – Francis #10 = 2 Chips as a Penguin
LW – Malkin #71 = 3 Chips as a Penguin
RW – Recchi #8 = 1 Chip as a Penguin
D – Larry Murphy #55 = 2 Chips as a Penguin
D – Sergi Gonchar #55 – 1 Chip as a Penguin
G – Tom Barrasso #35 = 2 Chips as a Penguin
Quote of the Day:
Michael Jordan, on being considered the G.O.A.T
“ I didn’t play against all the great players prior to me and I had those other players to influence my game. It’s a great honor, don’t get me wrong, but I would’ve loved to play against Jerry West to determine if I was a better guard than him, or Oscar Robertson. But we’ll never know.”
Michael Jordan – Basketball Player – Chicago Bulls