The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to pick up the pieces after their stunning 1st round 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs series loss to the New York Islanders, a smorgasbord of defensive lapses and poor play in the crease coupled with the fact that their star power in the form of Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin were shut down by the stingy Isles defense for the second time in three years.
And if this review of their offseason by ESPN's Greg Wyshynski is any indication, Penguins fans probably should have sights of a long playoff run reminiscent of glory days past dancing in their heads.
Not only did Wyshynski pan Ron Hextall's offseason, but also gave it a grade that will surely invoke memories of when we wanted to hide poor report cards from our parents under the bed - a D.
Is it fair? Take a look for yourself and you decide.
Grade: D. It's wild to think that the Penguins were a first-place team in the East Division last season (.688 points percentage) before being ousted by the Islanders in the first round. They weren't great to begin with, and now they've gotten worse. Tanev and McCann were effective forwards that'll be missed. Ceci defied expectations last season, and now he's in Edmonton. The Penguins wanted to get more physical. They didn't. They wanted to get more quality depth. They didn't. Their goaltending is still suspect since they decided not to dabble in nostalgia with a run at Marc-Andre Fleury.
On top of everything, Evgeni Malkin is rehabbing after knee surgery and might miss the start of the season. GM Ron Hextall took over a team last year that had little in the way of cap flexibility or assets to move, and it shows."
Penguins fans, just how optimistic are you about the upcoming season that will see Crosby and Malkin age another year? Will they ultimately have one more kick of the can left inside of them, or should Hextall and company be thinking of their long-term plans for when the two stars inevitably hang up the skates?