It seems like every big name that has come up this summer, whether it’s through trade or free agency, has been linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins in one way or another.
During the very brief free agency “frenzy”, they were considered a favorite to sign Zach Parise. That obviously didn’t happen. Then names like Bobby Ryan and Devon Setoguchi popped up, as well as Rick Nash for a brief period of time before he was traded to the New York Rangers.
It’s definitely interesting to see the Pens connected to so much high-profile talent. Already boasting forwards like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal, is it really necessary for the Penguins to be shopping out on the market for expensive offensive talent?
The short answer is no.
This team can score as well as anybody in the National Hockey League. They’ve got the top two players in the game, as well as one of the top offensive talents in a guy like Neal. That’s not to mention a strong supporting cast on the forward ranks as well.
The only real reason I could see the Pens searching for top tier talent is the loss of Jordan Staal. They lost quite a few points when they lost Staal and replaced him with Brett Sutter. But Sutter is no slouch and still has plenty of growing to do as a player, which should accelerate now that he has the type of supporting cast around him that they have in Pittsburgh.
Where the Pens need to put their focus is on the defensive end. As we saw in the postseason against the Philadelphia Flyers, the issue with this team isn’t putting the puck in the net, it’s keeping it out. They addressed their goaltending situation, but really need to focus their efforts on upgrading the blue line. They were connected to Ryan Suter, but the bulk of the rumors throughout the summer have had them going after offense.
There aren’t exactly a wealth of defenseman out on the market through trade as of right now. But even standing pat, the Pens are still a top three team in the Eastern Conference, and quite possibly the class of the Atlantic Division, even with the Blueshirts acquiring Nash.
Ray Shero and co. should just sit tight for now. The opportunity will arise for a deal, but when it does, it should be a defensive-minded deal, rather than trying to nab the best offensive player available.