Penguins Line-up Breakdown vs Stanley Cup Champs Vegas

Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There is a buzz around this year’s Pittsburgh Penguins Training Camp, as the “Re-Tooled” Pens get ready to lace ‘em up. New additions: Erik Karlsson, Ryan Graves, Reilly Smith, Alex Nylander, Lars Eller, Matthew Nieto, Noel Acciari, and Rem Pitlick have brought in some much-needed fresh air into this line-up.

The Penguins fan base can feel somewhat optimistic heading into this year, as the team looks ready to make another run for the Cup.

I understand its late August, and nobody wins the cup this early.  However, that being said, you can bet your bottom dollar, that we can compare This Years Penguins Roster to Last Years’ Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Knights.  And I will, so here we go…

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Penguins G-Men




Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights G-Men



Note: Thompson and Brossoit were both injured


The Goalie position in hockey is much like the Pitcher in Baseball, a dominant force can take your Team a long way, especially in the playoffs.

Fact: The Penguins Jarry has yet to prove he can lead this team in the Playoffs.

Fact: The Penguins have struggled in the nets since they let Fleury go…Karma?

Fact: The Vegas Golden Knights used 4 goalies in last years’ run, all of whom outplayed Each and Every Penguin goaltender hands down.

The Penguins addressed their “Goalie Issue” by re-signing Jarry to 5-year $5.375 million dollar contract.  As well, they signed Detroit’s back-up G-Man, Nedeljkovic (note: he’s played 103 NHL games to date and has zero playoff experience) to a 1 year $1.5 million dollar deal.

Hmmm, now that is interesting.  You know Martin Jones (Note: 444 career NHL games, 63 of which were in the playoffs) was a Free Agent and signed for $875k with the Leafs…right!

And he is 33 years old…so he would have fit right in…lol.

Advantage: Vegas

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Penguins D-Men

Graves – Letang

Pettersson – Karlsson

Joseph – Ruhwedel


Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights D-Men

Martinez – Pietrangelo

McNabb – Theodore

Hague – Whitecloud


Fact: The Penguins re-tooled their D-Men. Time will tell who they will play with and how well, but the Penguins are at their Cap Max, so they have very little to no wiggle room here.

Hmmm, now that is interesting.  You know that Ottawa Defensemen Jakob Chychrun (Note: 25-year-old, 6-foot 2-inch D getting $4.6 million until the end of 2024-25, who is younger and less expensive for the Win Now Pens) was traded on March 23.2023 for a conditional First Rounder in 2023, a conditional Second Rounder in 2024 and another Second Rounder in 2026.

Let’s assume, for now, the Top Four D-Men on both teams are a saw off (but they’re not).  You know that the Vegas bottom 5 and 6 D-Men played lights out, shut down Defense during last seasons run.  You also know that Vegas can roll out 11 Defensemen all who stand 6’1+…Yikes.

True, we shall see how well the Karlsson experiment plays out.

True That, the Pens Joseph and Ruhwedel need to step it up big time, to compare with how awesome Hague and Whitecloud played for Vegas.

Advantage: Vegas

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Penguins Forwards

Smith – Crosby – Rackell

Nylander – Malkin – Rust

O’Connor – Eller – Carter

Nieto – Acciari – Pitlick

Note: Guentzel is injured to start the 2023-24 season.


Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights Forwards

Barbashev – Eichel – Marchessault

Howden – Stephenson – Stone

Smith – Karlsson – Amadio

Carrier – Roy – Keegan


Fact: The Penguins re-tooled their Bottom 6 Forwards.  Here is hoping they are an improvement.

Hmmm, now that is interesting. Who plays with whom when Guentzel returns?  How much grit do the Penguin forwards really have?  My eye test tells me that Vegas has way more grit.

Advantage: Vegas

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My View from the Cheap Seats

The Penguins have made some good moves heading into this season.  And remember nobody wins the Stanley Cup in August.

I can see them staying healthy and having some success this year.  That said, I can also see another timeline where they all get injured, then enter into a free fall.

There are still lots of scenarios yet to play out in this upcoming marathon NHL season, let alone in the Playoffs.

I am looking forward to watching, cheering, and yelling at the TV again this year.

So, let gets it on…drop that puck already.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

Quote of the Day:

“Say Your Prayers, Take Your Vitamins and Eat Your Vegies”

Marc Penner – Writer / Author – Site Expert