The 2021 NHL draft wrapped up, gave us a closer look at the future of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey. The Penguins had five picks in this draft. While none of the prospects will make a jump right to the NHL this year or in three years, they managed to steal some size off the board. The Penguins’ lineup is a blend of solid veterans and a budding youth movement.
The youth will be sorely needed as Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin become free agents next summer. Everything from the medical staff to the scouting trips will be important for the Pittsburgh Penguins as the cup window starts to vanish for the most consistent team in the NHL.
Pittsburgh Penguins Future Shines Bright
Quite a few questions have arisen at the advent of the free agency season. In particular, worry from Penguins fans. Next offseason, we’ll see Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, and Jeff Carter become unrestricted free agents. Additionally, Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen will be the team’s key RFAs. It is expected from Penguins fans that both Malkin and Letang will be re-signed. Having said that, new management may see a different route. In the 2023-24 season Jason Zucker, Teddy Blueger, Radim Zohorna, and Brian Dumoulin will all become free agents. With the Penguins’ current cap situation, it’s unlikely many large moves will be made. Management will need to keep an eye out on depth pieces if they want to stay competitive.
Future Draft Selections
The past five years for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the draft have been very bare. When a team consistently contends, they tend to miss out on the draft. With veterans growing older, it appears the Cup window is closing for the Penguins. Fortunately, hope for the future exists — the Penguins have held onto their first-round pick for the first time since 2019. This is the first time since 2012 that the Penguins have held both their first and second-round picks for three consecutive years.
Notable names in the 2022 first-round range include Noah Ostlund and Simon Nemec. Most importantly, the Pittsburgh Penguins scouting staff needs to get an early and good look at all of the prospects for the next three years. These players will be key components for the Penguins’ contention in the near-future.
Pittsburgh Penguins Future Outlook
The future in Pittsburgh isn’t as dull as everybody makes it out to be. What they lack in a prospect pool, they make up for with young players like Jake Guentzel, Kasperi Kapanen, Teddy Blueger, John Marino, and Zach Aston-Reese. As Pittsburgh lord-and-savior Sidney Crosby ages, he will be depended on to teach the youngsters how to be a pro and lead the team. After everything he gave the organization, it’s hard to expect the now-34-year-old to put up 90 point season. All you can ask is for him to display leadership upon the future core of the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the door is slowly closing on the Penguins’ big-three, the future isn’t as bleak as hockey analysts may believe. No matter what the future holds, above all else, Penguins fans should enjoy the time they have left with their big star players.
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