The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the most feared franchises in the National Hockey League. Ever since acquiring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the draft, the franchise has been built for success. Along the way, the Pens have also featured a variety of other star players, such as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, wingers Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz, and defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. With players of this caliber, an energetic Pittsburgh fan base and several successful seasons with Stanley Cup Playoff runs, the Pens should have no problem repeating their recent cup victory, right? In order to fully answer this question, we must look at a number of determining factors.
They Have Been There Before…
Since the 2007-2008 season, the Pens have been to the Stanley Cup four times, capitalizing on three out of the four appearances. They have also had successful regular seasons in that time period, averaging only 24 losses per season in that span. Since 2007, they have had a great roster which helped them be this successful, with members like Crosby and Malkin. Thanks to their success, more than half of their team has massive amounts of playoff experience in the past two years, and a handful of them have already won multiple Stanley Cups in their careers. With these experiences as well as the recent success they have had, the Pens have a very high chance of raising the cup yet again.
The Roster Speaks for Itself…
As mentioned before, the Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the best rosters in the NHL. Sidney Crosby has compiled over 1000 career points and has collected three cups as the captain of the team, Evgeni Malkin has accrued the same amount of cups and over 800 career points, and other great players and goaltenders provide the Pens with successful seasons. Furthermore, goaltending is one of the most crucial parts in a successful NHL team. Goaltenders like Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray have helped the Pens win games and be successful in the post-season. The defensive lineups from Kris Letang and Justin Schultz to Ian Cole and Trevor Daley have been outstanding in the regular season and postseason. These reliable blue liners led the Pens to two recent Stanley Cups. With wingers like Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin and Patric Hörnqvist, the Penguins have had all of the puzzle pieces up front to be very successful for the past few years.
All factors considered, the Pens clearly have a very good chance at winning the Stanley Cup for the 2017-2018 season. This is not to say that they will be alone in the chase for the cup. Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators and many more teams could challenge for the Stanley Cup next season. With the Predators’ hot stretch at last season’s end, we have honestly learned that any team could win the Stanley Cup; however, the aforementioned teams have shown great success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before, and will continue to make appearances year after year.
Will they Win?
Given the roster and the past experiences of the Pittsburgh Penguins, some will say that the Pens will hoist the trophy at the end of the season. While we need to watch out for injuries, trades and lineup changes for next season before we can get a better read on their prospects, I absolutely believe that they will make a run at the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2017-2018 season. Teams like the Blackhawks, Bruins, Ducks, Caps and Sens will be there too and make it interesting, so it will be anybody’s cup come playoff time. Will the Pens repeat? Don’t bet your house on it, but they will make a run for it.