Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/12/14 at 02:50 PM ET
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have made the playoffs for eight years running, but losing in Game Seven of the second round this year caused them to clean house, firing GM Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma.
Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Penguins team that has a new general manager, Jim Rutherford, and is still looking for a coach, but will surely expect to ice Cup contender next season.
It's a little difficult to forecast what next year's Penguins club will look like, not knowing yet who will be coaching, but it's safe to expect some significant turnover on the roster. Pittsburgh's third and fourth lines were obliterated for much of last season and many of those players are unrestricted free agents, so that's a starting point for change.
Then, pending free agent D Matt Niskanen is coming off a career year that should price him out of the Penguins' cap, as will Brooks Orpik, so there will be openings on the blueline for young defencemen to step in and play.
In goal, maybe the new regime sticks with Marc-Andre Fleury for the final year of his contract, or maybe they will be more aggressive and go for sweeping changes.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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