With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins remain one of the NHL’s most talented teams, but they have been hit hard by injury this year and were no sure thing to make the playoffs before the season was suspended. Here’s an overview of the Penguins and their Mybookie NHL odds and Stanley Cup Odds.
Pittsburgh Penguins 2020 NHL Season Analysis
When the NHL suspended its season, the Penguins had 86 points and were third in the Metropolitan Division. They weren’t playing all that well, having lost eight of 11. Pittsburgh did win its pre-break finale, though, 5-2 at New Jersey. Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and set up another.
Evan Rodrigues and defensemen Justin Schultz and Kris Letang also scored as the Penguins won for only the third time in 11 games. Schultz broke a 27-game goal drought with his third of the season. Matt Murray made 20 saves to help Pittsburgh reach 40 wins for the seventh straight season and 13th time since 2006-07. The only exception was the 48-game lockout-shortened season in 2012-13.
Sidney Crosby was named the Most Complete Player in the NHLPA Player Poll recently released. Crosby captured 45.56% of the vote. However, he was a minus-eight when the season was paused on March 12. That would be the first time that Crosby has been a minus player in his NHL career since his rookie season of 2005-06 when he was a minus-one. Crosby missed 28 games this season after undergoing core muscle surgery in November, but still managed 16 goals and 47 points in 41 contests.
One breakout star this year has been Bryan Rust. In only 55 games, the 27-year-old has smashed his previous career highs in goals (27, up from 18) and points (56, up from 38). The winger is a point-per-game player, much higher than his previous best of 38 points in 69 games two years ago. He has done this all despite missing the first 11 games of the season because of a hand injury. Rust has been playing some street hockey with Zach Aston-Reese during the NHL’s pause. Aston-Reese has been staying with Rust his wife Kelsey and their dogs during the stoppage in play.
Coach Mike Sullivan feels thought Schultz was on the rise before the league paused play. This has been a difficult season for Schultz, who has three goals and 12 points in 46 contests. Schultz is in the final season of his three-year, $16.5 million contract, which is a deal he unfortunately hasn’t lived up to, in large part due to injuries.
Jake Guentzel’s rehab from shoulder surgery is “going well,” per Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford. It’s still unclear when the NHL might resume play, but the playoffs may go into August if teams get back on the ice to try to complete the 2019-20 season. Guentzel was given a four-to-six-month timetable for his recovery after he underwent surgery on Dec. 31. He was injured while awkwardly slamming into the end boards shortly after scoring his 20th goal of the season against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 30.
The Penguins could have a first-round pick in 2020 if the playoffs are cancelled. The Penguins dealt their first rounder to Minnesota in the Jason Zucker trade with the provision that it could be changed to the first round in 2021 if Pittsburgh fails to make the playoffs.
Pittsburgh Penguins odds to win Stanley Cup
The Penguins are +1400 to win their sixth Cup all-time and fourth since 2009.