Predicting the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5 Leading Scorers in 2014-15

Predicting the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5 Leading Scorers in 2014-15

Sidney Crosby
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The Pittsburgh Penguins lost two of their top five goal scorers last year in James Neal and Jussi Jokinen, so who will step up and take their place? The Pens have plenty of new faces in their locker room this year attempting to make their name as an elite player in the NHL, but here are the players I believe will be the top five leading scorers for the boys in black and gold next season.

Dark Horse: Christian Ehrhoff

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators
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Dark Horse: Christian Ehrhoff

Buffalo Sabres v Nashville Predators
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I don't think people give Christian Ehrhoff enough credit for his offensive ability, and although it's understandable considering he's played his last three seasons with the abysmal Buffalo Sabres, he is the first big shot the Penguins will have on their power play in years. Ehrhoff will likely quarterback the second unit, but don't be surprised if he surpasses his career highs in points (50) and power play goals (6) next season with the Pens.

5. Kris Letang

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins
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5. Kris Letang

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins
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If Kris Letang can stay healthy, he could easily find himself back in the running for the Norris Trophy; but until then, nothing is guaranteed. After suffering a terrifying stroke last season, it's almost impossible to gauge how he will bounce back, but there's no doubting that Letang, when healthy, is one of the most dangerous blueliners in the league. In my mind, he's the best offensive defenseman in the NHL not named P.K. Subban.

4. Patric Hornqvist

Nashville Predators v Calgary Flames
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4. Patric Hornqvist

Nashville Predators v Calgary Flames
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Replacing James Neal is going to be no easy task for Patric Hornqvist, but playing alongside Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby will certainly help the 27-year-old forward reach his scoring peak. Hornqvist has spent his entire career with the Nashville Predators and has amassed over 50 points twice, but playing alongside two of the best players in the world will propel the Swede to new heights. Don't be surprised if Hornqvist hits the 60-point mark.

3. Chris Kunitz

New York Rangers  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five
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3. Chris Kunitz

New York Rangers  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five
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Quietly, Chris Kunitz has become one of the highest scoring wingers in the NHL, and with Pascal Dupuis back in the lineup next season, he should top his career high in points (68) that he set last season. Kunitz has continued to improve each season, and with James Neal out of the lineup, Kunitz will have to step up with the man advantage and will be given ample opportunity to reach the illustrious 40-goal mark that he's been yearning for.

2. Evgeni Malkin

New York Rangers  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven
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2. Evgeni Malkin

New York Rangers  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven
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If Evgeni Malkin didn't miss 22 games last season, he may have hit the 100-point mark for the fourth time in his career. There's no questioning the skill level of Malkin, and if he can find a way to play 75-plus games in 2014-15, he will once again be in contention for the NHL scoring title, which he won in 2009.

1. Sidney Crosby

Why the Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

1. Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby
Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

He's the best player in the world; it's as simple as that. But just like Evgeni Malkin, the biggest question for Sidney Crosby is whether or not he can stay healthy. From concussions to broken jaws, Crosby hasn't had the greatest luck staying healthy, but he bounced back last year and led the NHL in scoring with 104 points. Individual awards have never meant a lot to Crosby, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind winning back-to-back NHL scoring titles.

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