The Pittsburgh Penguins will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2005-2006 season as the longest active playoff streak in pro sports of 16 seasons officially came to an end Wednesday night. Now, the question becomes how fast and furious do changes coming after the Penguins season finale against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 36 hours later and it’s still hard to fathom how the Penguins lost that game Tuesday night vs the Blackhawks and fumbled away their season. There has to be consequences and heads to roll beyond a possible front office shakeup.

Where this organization got it wrong in recent months? After the Edmonton loss back in February, the bold move for the Penguins at the deadline would have been going the Capitals route, hence, punting on the season, accumulate picks for your pending UFA’s, ect, and use those assets to retool for next season. That would have taken guts for this management team with how well the core was playing but the writing was on the wall with how inept the Penguins had been all season in matching up speed wise and physicality wise against the top tier of the East. Said it then and still feel it was a major missed opportunity for the Penguins. Ron Hextall’s best move of the deadline was acquiring a third-round pick for pending UFA Teddy Blueger. Problem is accumulating picks for pending UFA’s stopped at Blueger and the Penguins had to throw the 2024 third-rounder received from Vegas into the Anaheim Ducks deal so Anaheim would take on Brock McGinn.

For every positive move of Hextall’s from beating down Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin in negotiations for $6 million a year cap hits to go along with the Rickard Rakell addition last year that has worked out great, there’s just been countless decisions that have become catastrophic blunders from this management group dating back to the 2021 expansion draft that become quite hard for even a distant ownership group to overlook when you have a non-playoff season. While Hextall has been praised around the league for doing an admirable job in slowly building the Penguins prospect pool back up, the sense in league circles is the Mikael Granlund acquisition will be the nail in Hextall’s coffin. “I just don’t see how Ron survives that,” a long-time Eastern Conference exec said of Hextall.

And the Granlund acquisition has so many layers to it from what almost happened in the 24-36 hours after the Penguins acquired Granlund in how the team tried to trade one of their best wingers because of Granlund’s presence in the present and future ………

— Rumblings inside organization that one of Burke or Hextall will have to go-

— There’s a strong sense the working relationship between Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke started to deter in the final days of the deadline, multiple sources say. Burke wanted the team to acquire Brandon To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”! The JT Miller pursuit is where things got really interesting as more info has come out. Burke behind the scenes found a potential avenue to acquire Miller from the Vancouver Canucks in the days prior to the deadline after casual conversations To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

While on the day of the deadline as the Penguins and Canucks worked on a complex four-team deal that would have also included the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks, rumblings from other teams at the time was that Mikael Granlund was potentially on the move again to make the money work. However, it was actually Jason Zucker who would have been the $5 million a year cap hit player that would have been part of the four-team trade, Talks got so serious around 11:00 a.m. eastern of deadline day that the Canucks were working on essentially bringing To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!


— One version of players involved in the Penguins-Canucks-Ducks-Panthers trade talks had Pittsburgh trading Zucker, PO Joseph, Jan Rutta, and Brock McGinn, while receiving To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

— A top consideration for whoever is in the General Manager’s seat this summer: Buyout Mikael Granlund? While Pittsburgh would take on a $1.8 million cap hit in 2025-2026 and 2026-2027, Pittsburgh would create close to $4.2 million in cap space next season and $3.1 million in cap space for the 2024-2025 season if they were to buyout Granlund. To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!