Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

How The Pittsburgh Penguins Should Attack The Off-Season

After missing the playoffs two years in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins need to have an aggressive offseason. The Penguins have missed the playoffs for the second season in a row and with the aging core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Erik Karlsson, the Penguins need to go for at least one last Stanley Cup.

Currently, the Penguins have $13,245,658 million dollars to spend this off-season. Currently, the Penguins have holes on their entire fourth line, third line defensive pairing, and backup goalie. However, that will change once they have Ryan Graves, Noel Acciari, and Matt Nieto off of the long-term injured reserve.

Also, they have some players to potentially extend such as defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph and backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. This will be a very busy summer for general manager Kyle Dubas and the Penguins front office. Dubas has already mentioned his offseason goals are to get younger and better so this seems to be the start of a retool for the Penguins.

How the Penguins Should Attack the Off-Season

Potential Reunion?

The Penguins could go and bring back former winger Jake Guentzel. Guentzel spent his whole career with the Penguins before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes this past March. He is expected not to re-sign with the Hurricanes due to them not having enough money and the need to pay other free agents.

Dubas has also stated that the reunion tour is not out of the picture. Depending on if Guentzel can forgive management for trading him as well as agree on an affordable price, Guentzel can come back to Pittsburgh and the Penguins got some prospects as well.

Warn Out Welcomes

The Penguins should look to shed some cap space by trading away players that simply do not fit and were underwhelming. Starting with Reilly Smith. Smith was acquired to provide depth scoring. However, he underperformed as he had his lowest point total while playing at least 60 games since the 2016-17 season.

Smith should be the first Penguin moved whether it is for a player younger and/or cheaper or draft capital. A team that could use him is the Minnesota Wild. Smith is 33 years old and just 40 points for his contract is not acceptable.

Next on the chopping block is Rickard Rakell. After a solid 60 point season just a year ago, Rakell follows it up with an abysmal 37 point season. Trading him allows the Penguins to free up his contract and land a player with more upside or draft capital and freed up cap space.

Acciari also needs to go as well. Acciari only played in 55 games and somehow could not even finish the season with double digit points. He also was not good defensively as he finished with a -7.

Penguins Off-season Backup Goaltending Direction

Another thing the Penguins need to figure out this offseason is the backup goalie situation. Nedeljkovic had a solid season this past season as he had a 2.97 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. He also only had one less win than starter Tristan Jarry despite playing in 13 less games.

If the Penguins want to get younger and save money, they could let Nedeljkovic walk. Joel Blomqvist had a solid regular season with the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Penguins in the AHL this past season. After a solid season, he could earn the call-up due to his great play as well as being a cheaper and younger option.

Attached below is a potential mockup of how the Penguins could attack the off-season. If the Penguins could do this or something similar, not only will they have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup, but also long-term success with more draft capital and younger assets.

Main Photo: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message