The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup success didn’t surprise anybody last year, but it probably should have.
Obviously, as soon as a team sports two of the very best players of a creation in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the expectations are put at a tournament each season, but going to the playoffs that the Penguins did not match the profile of a group which has been a lock to elevate the Cup.
While each other recent Stanley Cup winner was prominent about the shot counter, the Penguins rated 16th at 2016-17. They were also missing their No. 1 goalie and No. 1 defenseman going into the postseason. Traditionally, the health has played a massive part in playoff achievement. Throughout a six-year stretch, once the Chicago Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups and the Los Angeles Kings brought home 2, they rated No. 2 and 1 at fewest man matches lost.
So that the Penguins had a few hills to climb, however, they obtained goalie Matt Murray back in time to get the Eastern Conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, along with a gaggle of defensemen patched along the giant gap left by Kris Letang to conquer the Nashville Predators.
Pittsburgh won the Cup in substantial part because its atomic strike and electricity play proved just too far for opponents to deal with. The Penguins produced 3.08 goals a game, easily the best markers of any playoff team. Murray also had an unbelievable .937 save percentage in the postseason.
So with Crosby and Malkin still dominating, Murray just starting his prime and Letang returning, the Penguins deserve to input 2017-18 since the favorites to the Stanley Cup — and sportsbooks have installed them as such.
But, two of the club precious facilities, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen, abandoned in free agency, and Pittsburgh’s thickness at wing is extremely questionable.
Listed below are just five contenders whose profound forwards collections could make a tough matchup for the Pens.