1. Where will the Pittsburgh Penguins finish in the stacked East Division?
I predict that the Pittsburgh Penguins will be a fringe Playoff team this year, with the top three spots in the Division probably going to the likes of the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals.
For the final postseason spot it is a mix of the New York Islanders, the Penguins, and the New York Rangers, so Pittsburgh is going to have to take the Bobby Cox and Atlanta Braves approach if they are going to compete in this division. By that I mean they will have to beat all the teams that are below them or at their level and go .500 against the top-tier teams in the division.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will still do Crosby and Malkin things, and if guys like Bryan Rust, Jared McCann and Teddy Blueger all can play up to their potential this year, coupled with decent contributions from Mark Jankowski and Brendan Tanev, then I think Pittsburgh can get in. There is just a lot of question marks with this team with all the turnover and new contracts brought in.
The ceiling for Pittsburgh this year is third or fourth place in the East Division, going up against either Philadelphia or Washington in the First Round. NBC will be doing backflips if either matchup happens, however the backside of this roller coaster could be a below .500 season for the Penguins.
There is a real chance this is just a punt year, the signings don’t work out, they get beaten up by their new older brother in Philadelphia, Washington dominates them and they fall back in the Division. I could see a lot of fans just saying it’s a COVID shortened season, so let’s just look ahead to October and regroup for a real season. Either way, we’re all in for a little fun and it all starts this week.