Potential Areas of Improvement for the Pittsburgh Penguins Amid Trade Deadline

Pittsburgh Penguins trade deadline
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As the trade deadline approaches, it has become more clear that the Penguins lack in a few areas. Their top line has been excellent, their powerplay is improving as every game goes on, and their penalty kill is among the league’s best. Although they’ve had a good year, the games that they’ve lost have showcased many needs to become a more consistent team.

The Penguins are a weird team. They’ve gone on awkward three-game winning streaks, then next thing you know, it’s a three-game losing streak. Effort has been a keyword this season. The entire team consistently struggles to create any momentum throughout two periods then turns it on in the final period. It’s a huge reason they’re in the spot they’re in today. Without some OT losses, they may be lower in the tight Metropolitan Division. The Penguins have very limited cap space but have some good players who could use a change of scenery or be used as a potential trade chip. The Pittsburgh Penguins trade deadline may be busier than people think.

Penguins Have Opportunity to Add at Trade Deadline Despite Tight Cap

Depth Scoring

Since January 12th, not a single Penguin has scored more than three goals except Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. That sums up how scarce the Penguins offence has been for quite some time now. It’s easy to understand if the fourth line isn’t scoring, their single job is to be a shutdown defensive masterclass. The Kasperi Kapanen experiment is over as he’s likely to be a healthy scratch against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. He has undoubtedly only weighed down the Penguins’ second line with his inability to finish on the limited chances he gets. The Fin seems scared to cut to the net or even shoot the puck for that matter.

Evan Rodrigues‘s hot streak is over and has struggled to score, never mind getting an assist. He has the tools but is destined for failure due to Mike Sullivan’s stubbornness in breaking up the Crosby line. Danton Heinen and Malkin have the chemistry, if they were to have a solid winger that line would compete 5v5. Dominik Simons‘s impact is solid but he doesn’t add anything to the scoreboard.

Top Six Winger

The Penguins are in dire need of offence from anyone from the bottom nine. Most notably, Malkin needs a capable winger. The most important thing is improving the Penguins’ 5v5 play. Since February 1st the Penguins are 31st in the NHL in 5v5 goals for. Recently in the news, we’ve seen rumours of Brock Boeser being brought over from the Vancouver Canucks. Although, the Penguins would need to do lots of work to be able to bring in that type of money.

There may be some cheaper options on the market. So who is the Penguins’ cheaper option? Ryan Hartman. Hartman, currently playing in Minnesota, is on a very friendly deal. At 1.7 million per year for three more years as a 27-year-old, Hartman is a very underrated player. In his breakout year with Minnesota, he’s played all three forward positions while playing against other teams’ top lines. It’s easy to see he struggles defensively but that’s not what the Penguins care about, they need offence.

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Overall Outlook

The Penguins are unlikely to make any moves, although there are rumblings they may be one of the surprise teams to load up. With rumour of Letang’s next contract being around 7.5 million for five years, the Penguins will have an idea of what they’re working with in the off-season. This will allow them to work accordingly at the trade deadline. Expect lots of commotion between Vancouver and Pittsburgh as they know the Penguins player pool very well. Names out there from the Penguins end include John Marino, Evan Rodrigues, and Kasperi Kapanen. It’s clear the Penguins’ depth is what has them set a level below the top teams like the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. If they can grab some offensive weapons at the deadline and not get Shesterkined in the first round they should be set for a solid run. This Pittsburgh Penguins Trade Deadline may be one for the ages, time will tell.

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