There’s been a lot written and far evaluation in regards to the Penguins newest first-round playoff exit. The consensus is goaltending allow us to down, large time, together with flaws in our general defensive construction. (The 19 forwards method, as Different Rick so succinctly places it.)
Nonetheless, some websites (I received’t title names) appear to pooh-pooh the notion that the Pens want so as to add measurement or alter their speed-first-and-everything-else-be-damned method.
I encourage to vary. A fast look on the 4 groups left within the Stanley Cup chase tells the story.
Tampa Bay…the Islanders…Vegas…Montreal. Every staff employs a method that blends measurement, velocity and a level of ability with aggression, construction and grind.
The defending champion Lightning are the poster little one for the hybrid model. Kayoed within the first spherical in 2019 in devastating trend following a monster common season (126 factors) by the then-heavy Blue Jackets, they added Zach Bogosian, Blake Coleman, Pat Maroon and Luke Schenn to the combo. Higher capable of stand up to the trials and physicality of Stanley Cup competitors, they received a Cup final season and appear a strong wager to repeat this 12 months.
In the event that they match our feat of back-to-back Cups? The aforementioned Maroon, all 6’3” and 225 kilos of him, can have performed on three Cup champions in a row.
For the report, the Lightning function a group of redwoods on protection. Their top-seven d-men common 221 kilos. The Pens prime seven, together with Chad Ruhwedel, 195 kilos. You inform me who’s tougher to play towards.
Vegas? They function a rock ‘em, sock ‘em fourth line of William Service, Keegan Kolesar and our outdated good friend Ryan Reaves. A line black-and-gold coach Mike Sullivan wouldn’t contact with a 10-foot pole. But the rugged trio mixed for a staggering 379 hits in the course of the common season. Suppose they softened up the opposition a tad?
We’re most aware of the Islanders, who lately floor a bodily Bruins squad to mud because of a relentless, structured model that’s nearly completely suited to the playoffs. Montreal, likewise, performs a strong staff sport that options a variety of sizeable gamers, particularly on ‘d.’
In the meantime, groups that rely closely on velocity and ability such because the Pens, Hurricanes and Maple Leafs have been eradicated. Colorado, arguably essentially the most gifted staff within the league, is the most recent casualty.
I believe it’s protected to say the stylistic pendulum has swung. Small and quick received’t reduce it any extra. A minimum of not within the postseason.
Sure, goaltending is a large issue. An space the Pens are positive to handle this low season by buying a confirmed front-line starter (John Gibson) or a dependable 1-A man (Frederick Andersen) to assist and maybe push incumbent Tristan Jarry.
However there’s no query that making an attempt to construct a staff to our Cup-champion specs now not works. The opposite golf equipment, or at the least the profitable ones, are following a unique blueprint.
We have to do the identical.
The excellent news is, among the items for a transition could already be in place. Among the many forwards Anthony Angello, Radim Zohorna and prime prospects Nathan Legare and Samuel Poulin possess measurement, velocity and ability to various levels.
Protection is one other matter totally. Pending UFA Cody Ceci’s a funds (however quickly to get richer) model of Islanders stalwarts Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock. Except for Ceci, there’s valuable little brawn and even much less aggression on our backline. Our most “bodily” defenseman beside feisty Kris Letang is Marcus Pettersson. The Ichabod Crane-ish Swede tries to maneuver guys out from across the web. However at a rail-thin 177 kilos, he’s not sufficient.
The Pens want a legit banger (or two) on protection to offer some muscle and steadiness. Ex-Pens Erik Gudbranson and Jamie Oleksiak, each pending UFAs, come to thoughts. So does fellow UFA Ian Cole.
Along with personnel modifications, Sullivan might want to alter his method if the Pens are to return to postseason glory. One thing, at the least at the moment, he appears detest to do.
Talking of Sullivan, the Pens’ skipper was as soon as once more missed within the working for the Jack Adams Award regardless of main a banged-up staff to a division title. Rod Brind’Amour (Carolina), Dean Evason (Minnesota) and Joel Quenneville (Florida) are the nominees.
*Be sure you try Rick Bukers books,
out there at TriumphBooks.com,