The Penguins had a successful season with a disappointing end. They were swept by the Bruins as their goaltending and defense couldn’t hold up. It went to show you can have all the star forwards you want, but you won’t win the Cup unless you have consistent defense. It showed Ray Shero wasn’t as much of a genius as he was portrayed to be. He acquired Iginla, Morrow, Jussi Jokinen (a faceoff and shootout specialist, as well as a clutch performer), and even though he acquired Murray, he spent way too much on these star forwards that he couldn’t keep for this upcoming season. They was no need for them in the first place, having players such as Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Dupuis, and very solid depth players.
Shero finally noticed the problem on defense this offseason, re-acquiring Rob Scuderi, a very solid shut down defenseman. He also has a good size at 6’1″, 219 lbs. That may solidify the defense a bit, but I still don’t think it is guaranteed to be consistent. Even though they lost Iginla and Morrow, I’m not worried about their offense; it was very good before Shero acquired them. Plus, if Jussi Jokinen can receive playing time, he will be of help in that area.
The other situation may be goaltending, at least when it gets to the crucial parts of the season. Fleury, making himself known as an elite goaltender, has struggled in the post-season the last couple years. He was actually taken to a sports psycologist because of his poor performance. Vokoun has solidified himself as a very solid backup, though. The good news for the goaltending is that there is a bright future with two young, potential elite goaltenders in Triston Jarry and Eric Hartzell. Hartzell was selected to the 2012-13 NCAA All-American team and was awarded the Hober Baker award for the NCAA top collegiate athlete. He had a 1.57 goals against average, five shutouts, and a .937 save percentage. Jarry was tied for the second most shutouts in the WHL last season. In addition, the Pens hired Mike Bales as the new goaltending coach.
As always, no matter what the defense and goaltending is like, the Penguins lethal offense, that I believe scored 171 goals in the 48 games this past season, will lead them to the playoffs. They are going to be a top 3 team in the Metropolitan Division.