The Pittsburgh Penguins made some huge strides this year, thanks to their kiddie corps. You know, after their quick defeat to the Senators, that this group is just raring for another go at it.
Mike Burse of The Bleacher Report has a look at the Penguins heading into next season...
2007 will not be the Year of the Penguin.Wasn't the Penguins biggest problem their goaltending? (Ie. lack of GOOD goaltending)
For most of the Pens roster, the postseason loss to the Ottawa Senators marked a virgin run in the Stanley Cup playoffs—but with four solid lines that can score and take hits, the future looks bright in Pittsburgh.
In fact, if the Penguins can pick up a capable fourth or fifth defenseman and one more defender to come off the bench, they should be primed to make a run at a championship in the next few years.
Marc-Andre Fleury: I'm not entirely convinced that this young man will be able to lead Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup. Historically, he has struggled in the clutch—especially during his time in the QMJHL and at the World Junior under-20 Championship Tournament. Unless he shows that he can handle the playoffs, Malki may have to be traded before the Penguins win a Cup.
I'm not convinced Fleury will develop into a good goalie, either, which means the Penguins need to find a quality backup. Thibault is a nice backup, but they need somebody better in case Fleury falters again.
Goaltenders are funny toys, and can take a long time to pan out. Just look at how long it took Rick DiPietro to pan out with the Islanders? Fleury may not turn into a GOOD NHL goalie for 2-3 seasons, which would be too late for the Penguins.
If I'm the Pens management, I'm going after a good 1B goaltender that can be counted on...an arrangement like they have in Minnesota or Nashville, for instance.