The Penguins are no different than any other team in the NHL. They have a need to improve certain areas. Even an elite team like Tampa Bay is going to have a need to improve. Their salary cap situation is going to dictate them losing some talent and create voids in the lineup. Watching Pittsburgh next year (if there is a next year) will look like watching two different teams. You have the Crosby and Malkin lines who will be able to generate offense. Then you have the third and fourth lines who on paper don’t look like legitimate scoring threats.
For this reason the Penguins biggest need is depth scoring. Yes, this is a common answer among all teams. Also, it is very true because the Penguins are top heavy and don’t have a lot outside of Jared McCann to help out the bottom two lines. This is a pretty big void considering their Stanley Cup aspirations. More specific to depth scoring they need an offensive minded third line player. It would be nice if they could acquire a third line center, but it doesn’t have to be considering McCann can play center. Hypothetically, they could acquire another top six player and bump somebody down and have positive impact on a third scoring line. The issue is the Penguins only have about 1.3M in cap space. Not enough to get another third line player and certainly not enough to acquire a top six player and bump somebody down.
There isn’t a clear path for Pittsburgh to address their biggest need. They are backed into a corner with contracts like Mike Matheson, Brandon Tanev. Colton Sceviour, and Cody Ceci. The Penguins are all in on the top two lines doing the heavy lifting and the bottom two lines being defensive specialists. Unless significant roster moves are made this will be the approach whether they have needs or not.
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