Saturday, June 08, 2013

Thanks For Coming Out, 2013 Pittsburgh Penguins

A top team in the Eastern Conference with all the fire power, leadership, and depth in the world. A hiccup in goal the first series didn't really deter them through the first two rounds, but no one thought they would only get two (TWO) goals in the four-game Eastern Conference Finals. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, you can bet that there may be a new look overall when the puck drops in the 2013-14 season.

Granted, many people believe that coach Dan Bylsma is on the hot seat and I don't think that's necessarily true. While he wasn't able to adjust his team to the defense of the Bruins, the fact they couldn't really hit the net in the Eastern Finals is not really something he can overly teach or re-teach, that's on the player. The Pens brass have a lot to thank Disco Dan for, which is why his job probably isn't as in jeopardy as many others would have you think.

However, Bylsma could have a different look team when it comes to next season. Seven total UFAs on the roster and many thinking that Evgeni Malkin is on the trading block could make the Penguins have a drastic change. Though Malkin will probably get an extension in the summer; the thought that the Pens will have a total overhaul is a bit overblown. Sure, the trade deadline pick-ups they got will probably not come back, as with Matt Cooke, but it's not as if they can't get a suitable replacement for them.

One big point of contention is what to do in net. This playoffs was a flop for Marc-Andre Fleury, who got yanked in the first round in favor of Tomas Vokoun, thus almost completing Fleury's free-fall from grace. While they probably won't use their amnesty buy-out on him this year, should he not be able to get his confidence back, it's a definite option in the summer of 2014. But, you have to imagine the Pens have to rely on Fleury, as Vokoun has one year left and may not be up to the task of being a starter anymore.

The Pens always have a knack for finding the next solid guy to plug into their line-up and still be successful. The system is a good one thanks to Bylsma and it should continue so long as he's there. While there may be a little change here and there, a complete blow-up of the team would be short-sighted and a sign of panic on GM Ray Shero's part. The Pens will be fine later on, but licking their wounds this summer after being swept will be on the top of their priority list.

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