32 Teams In 32 Days: Pittsburgh Penguins
When, and why, good teams start to decline
In today’s 32 teams we take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and when good teams start to go bad.
Be sure to check out yesterday’s look at the New York Rangers and the curse of elite goaltending.
From last night over on Adam’s Pittsburgh Sport Stuff the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Chris Boswell to a long-term contract extension while the Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher Jose Quintana.
There are two primary concerns with the 2022-23 Pittsburgh Penguins following their offseason moves.
The first is that by re-signing Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust, and Rickard Rakell to new long-term contract extensions that they are simply bringing back a team that has not been good enough to advance in the playoffs over the past four years. In a results oriented business, it is by far the most fair of the two concerns. If they were not good enough to win the past few years, why would they suddenly be good enough to win this season?
This concern in a vacuum overlooks the “why” those teams lost (it was not necessarily because of the players at the top), as well as the fact the players they re-signed (specifically as it relates to Malkin and Letang) are better than any other potential replacement they were going to find on the open market or in a trade. They are probably a better cost against the cap as their hypothetical replacements as well.
The second concern is that the Penguins missed a chance to jumpstart their inevitable rebuild and are now facing the possibility of falling off a cliff into the hockey abyss similar to the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings.
That concern shows a misunderstanding of why, how, and when those teams fell apart.
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