Are The Penguins Getting Better?

A look at where the Pens stand in the Eastern Conference right now

The Fan Morning Show
July 03, 2018 - 11:16 am
Crosby and Ovi

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- It's high time for offseason moves in the NHL right now and the Penguins have been involved. Jack Johnson, Matt Cullen are in. Tom Kuhnhackl, Carter Rowney, Conor Sheary, Matt Hunwick are out. 

The Fan Morning Show wondered aloud today whether the Penguins are in a better position to win another Stanley Cup right now than they were when their season was ended by the eventual champion Washington Capitals. It has suddenly become an interesting question now that the Penguins are not the defending champs and now that John Tavares is with Austin Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Chris Mueller, filling in for Colin Dunlap this week, said there seems to be a top four in the Eastern Conference right now: Washington, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Tampa Bay. There a few teams close behind like Boston, Columbus and possibly even Florida, but those top four seem to be the early favorites. Jeff Hathhorn, filling in for Jim Colony this week on the show, believes the Penguins are still right in the thick of things and have the team to win another Stanley Cup. But he can't call them the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. 

The guys say that until proven otherwise, the Capitals are the favorite and the best team in the East right now because they have kept their roster intact and are coming off a Stanley Cup season. Toronto is also closing in as they have collected more young talent in Tavares and have a Stanley Cup winning head coach pulling the strings. Florida has a young core that seems ready to win and they wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers get into the playoffs and do some damage this year as well.

So are the Penguins falling behind? We might not be ready to say that. Jeff thinks the Penguins will benefit from a healthy Derick Brassard next season (assuming they keep him) and Jack Johnson has the ability to be better than the bottom tier defenseman he is expected to be. Chris Mueller expects Matt Murray to be better this season as well as he had to deal with a lot of things off the ice this season, including the death of his father. Both agree that this roster is relying more on their younger players and guys like Daniel Sprong and Zach Aston-Reese will need to step into bigger roles and do them well. 

How confident are you that the Penguins can win it all again next season? Do other moves need to be made? 

 

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