Last Season – The Penguins finished with the 4th seed in the East, 51-25-8, before bowing out to the Flyers in a crazy first round series.
Ready to Step In – Joe Morrow is probably the most NHL ready of a quartet of stellar defensive prospects, which include Olli Maata, Simon Depres, and Derrick Pouliot. The blue line will soon be almost as impressive as the forward unit.
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Sidney Crosby is the best player in the game and a healthy and motivated Sid is bad news for every Penguins opponent. Thirty-seven points in 22 games last season.
Upside – The Pengiuns have elite firepower in Malkin and Crosby and newcomer Sutter provides the defensive checking conscience up the middle. The conundrum for the Pens will be whether or not to play Malkin and Crosby together or to split them up. A good problem to have.
Downside – Marc-Andre Fleury showed some weakness in the playoffs last year, forcing the Penguins to bring in Vokoun as a capable backup.
2013 Prognosis – While the health of Crosby will make many hesitate to crown the Penguins, if he is healthy for 48 games the Pens will be tough to beat. They are in a tough division and will want the top seed to avoid a repeat of last year’s first round loss to the Flyers.