Is the Penguins First-Round Pick in Play?
The San Jose Sharks for the second time this season gave the Pittsburgh Penguins of what should be a reality check again.
One team is an elite Stanley Cup Contender and one team in Pittsburgh just isn’t.
That continues to be the reality for this Penguins team.
San Jose flexed their muscles in being a faster, stronger, and deeper team than Pittsburgh. San Jose is so deep in some areas that Kris Letang would be a third pairing ‘Right D’ on their squad.
Pittsburgh entered this one winning four of five but it wasn’t a winning four out of five stretch that the organization should have felt great about. Pittsburgh has a lot of questions with the deadline three days away but a lot of their growing issues are issues that really can’t be addressed till the summer. They’ve hamstrung themselves against the cap with $80 million tied into 16 players for next season and potential trade assets with high cap hits are becoming depreciated assets moving forward.
Has Phil Kessel reached his expiration date in Pittsburgh? His decision making with the puck in high traffic area has been as bad as it can get for the last little while. Pittsburgh’s opportunity to sell high has sailed.
Patric Hornqvist has reached the point where you have to start wondering if he’s finally breaking down. There’s always a high risk in the type of deal he got at his age for a player who has to work as hard as he does to score goals and has taken so much punishment with his style of play. There’s signs the hands are gone.
Tanner Pearson’s game is such a mess he now feels the need to try to drop the gloves to stay in the lineup.
Penguins’ GM Jim Rutherford being all-in on Jack Johnson is also something else. The dead-weight on the roster continues to get greatly exposed against the upper echelon teams.
This sequence on the penalty kill is what makes Jack Johnson’s game so maddening.
Johnson’s defensive awareness/instincts are so below average it has him constantly making decisions like this where he’s leaving his area of the ice for no reason.
Here the Penguins are on the penalty kill and Johnson for some in-excusable reason darts towards the blueline and from there it was a snow-ball effect as Matt Cullen also follows suit in leaving his lane and then Chad Ruhwedel decides to put the exclamation point on the blooper field sequence.
Four Penguins caught on one side.
The fascinating thing to watch with the Penguins poor performance vs the Sharks is whether it will put the Penguins first round pick in play for a player or two they’re chasing. As Pittsburgh’s trade board is at 4-5 players, sources tell TIOPS Rutherford has been strongly advised by his staff to Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"