As our IslesBlog crew continues its tour around the Metro division, today we’ll look at the Pittsburgh Penguins offseason.
After being dispatched by the Islanders in six games, the Penguins have had an offseason of minor changes. Perhaps their biggest change came at the hands of the Seattle Kraken when they selected 29-year-old Brandon Tanev in the Expansion Draft. Tanev was a key contributor to the Penguins last season as a checking centerman who could kill penalties and be a pest. Jeff Carter, who the Pens acquired at the deadline last year, enters the final year of his deal and will slide into the 3C role to presumably replace Tanev. Other additions include Brock McGinn from Carolina and Danton Heinen from Anaheim. Taylor Fedun and Michael Chaput also joined the organization as depth pieces.
The intriguing addition here is McGinn, who has carved out a nice career for himself and earned a four-year contract.
The Penguins have signed forward Brock McGinn to a four-year contract.
McGinn, 27, is signed through the 2024.25 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $2.75 million.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 28, 2021
“I think last year was a true testament of how I can play and how offensive I can be, as long as it doesn’t hinder my defensive and full 200-foot game,” McGinn said. “I’m going to come up, bring energy for the guys and hopefully help Pittsburgh win as many games as we can and bring a Cup to the city of Pittsburgh,” McGinn continued.
Other than those few additions, the core of the Penguins remains intact. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust all remain and as a result should have Pittsburgh sniffing the playoffs once again.
The main concern for Pitt remains in goal as organization failed to address their biggest issue. Tristian Jarry — who has two years remaining on his deal — was awful in the playoffs against the Isles, and remains a question mark in net. Their backup is Casey DeSmith, who would’ve saved Jarry in the playoffs if not for an injury keeping him out. He showed promise last season when healthy, but he is already 30 and one year away from unrestricted free agency.
With the Penguins being up against the cap for the foreseeable future, plus Kasperi Kapanen needing a new deal after this season, there’s not a ton of flexibility to improve their current roster.
The way the schedule matrix fell this year, with the addition of Seattle to the mix, the Isles will only face the Penguins three times this season instead of the usual four (two of the three games will be at UBS Arena). The Penguins will surely be hovering around the playoffs all season, but the Isles shouldn’t worry as they’ve had the Pens number over the last few years including two series wins in the postseason. If the Penguins are looking to add at the trade deadline, they will likely have to subtract a player from their NHL roster, unless injuries factor in, which could prevent them from making any serious moves.
While you can never count a Crosby-led team out, the Isles are currently the deeper and overall better team and shouldn’t worry too much about the Penguins going into the season.
Follow Ethan on Twitter @egreenberg99