The reigning Stanley Cup champions didn\’t change up their team too much in the off-season. And really, if you just won the Cup, would you do anything? Their roster is amazing and they are poised for another cup run.
The face of the NHL, C Sidney Crosby is starting the year on the IR (injured reserve) due to a concussion but with RWs Patrick Hornqvist and Phil Kessel plus C Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins shouldn\’t struggle too much. Defenseman Kris Letang leads a solid defensive core. Pittsburgh\’s \”problem\” is that they have 2 elite goalies. Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray have both proven to be really good. Murray was diagnosed with a broken hand during the world cup so Fleury will be the starter. The Penguins didn\’t have a 3rd goalie because Jeff Zatkoff signed with the Kings so when Montreal placed Mike Condon on waivers, Pittsburgh picked him up to be a temporary backup.
The Penguins didn\’t have a first round pick in the 2016 NHL draft because they traded it to Toronto to acquire Phil Kessel. (Toronto then traded it to Anaheim).
The Penguins\’ projected lines look like this:
Conor Sheary- Evgeni Malkin- Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin- Nick Bonino- Phil Kessel
Chris Kunitz- Bryan Rust- Scott Wilson
Tom Kuhnhackl- Matt Cullen- Eric Fehr
On defense is:
Brian Dumoulin- Kris Letang
Olli Maata- Trevor Daley
Justin Schultz- Derrick Pouliot
In net is Marc-Andre Fleury and Mike Condon. Ian Cole is scratched and C Sidney Crosby and G Matt Murray are injured.
Finally, for my prediction, the Pittsburgh Penguins, a winning team, will make the playoffs in 2016-17.