NHL training camps are set to unfold this weekend so you know what that means, it’s prediction time!
Offensively, a healthy Malkin and the POSSIBLE promotion of Jordan Staal to the second line, should give Pittsburgh enough to equal, if not score more goals than last season. Crosby should be up to his old ways and my gut tells me Mike Comrie is going to have a great year along side the co-Maurice Richard winner. The power play will be a developing story as a new anchor will have to emerge with the departure of Sergei Gonchar. Malkin could move to the point creating a four forward PP or Kris Letang could simply slip into the slot Gonchar once reined.
Defensively, Pittsburgh should be much more stable with the afro mentioned Martin as well defensive stud Zbynek Michalek. While Gonchar was great offensively, his liabilities in his own zone caused major issues with the Penguins brass and his replacements should be sufficient. For a team that gave up the second most amount of goals among all playoff teams last season, a major improvement is on the radar in my books. Also, Marc-andre Fleury should rebound from his below par year and a better team in front of him should give the 25-year-old everything he needs to have a breakout year.
So, with that being said, where do the Penguins finish next season?
Atlantic Division: 1st
New Jersey will be good but not great with the aging Martin Brodeur and the Philadelphia Flyers will cruise into the playoffs still weary from their playoff run last season.
Playoff seed: 2nd
Same story, different year. The Capitals are the Cleveland Cavaliers (with Lebron) of the NHL-all pizzazz but no finish when it’s on the line. But with all that talent, they’re bound to defend their Presidents Trophy.
Playoff performance: Loss in Stanley Cup Finals
I think the Flyers will still be reeling from their run last season and will not be good enough to beat the Pens in a seven game series. Besides these two teams, no one in the East in my opinion is strong enough to even make it to the Conference Finals. Boston is still a year or two away and ditto for a few other teams. Who the Penguins lose to in the Cup finals is still hazy to me but Chicago, Vancouver among others I believe may be too much for them.
Do you agree or find I’m a complete moron, let me know what you think!
About the Author
Written by Amit Mann