After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, which starts Oct. 7. Today, the Pittsburgh Penguins:
2021-22 season: 46-25-11, third in Metropolitan Division; lost in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs
Jeff PetryD: The 34-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on July 16 for defenseman Mike Mathison and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Petry had 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in 68 games last season, 11 (two goals, nine assists) in his final 11 games after returning from a lower-body injury. … Ryan PoehlingF: The 23-year-old arrived in the Petry trade after he had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 57 NHL games last season and provides needed depth to the bottom six. … Jan RuttaD: The 32-year-old signed a three-year contract July 13. The two-time Stanley Cup champion for the Tampa Bay Lightning (2020, 2021) had 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in an NHL career-high 76 games last season. … Ty SmithD: The 22-year-old was acquired with a third-round pick in the 2023 draft from the New Jersey Devils for defenseman John Marino on July 16. After scoring 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 66 games last season, Smith could battle Pierre-Olivier Joseph for the final spot on the left side.
Video: Brian Burke on the offseason for the Penguins
Mike MathisonD: Had an NHL career-high 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 74 games last season, second among Penguins defensemen behind Kris Letang (68 points; 10 goals, 58 assists). Matheson led Pittsburgh at the position with six points (one goal, five assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games. … John MarinoD: Had 25 points (one goal, 24 assists) in 81 games last season. Marino has scored four goals in 133 games the past two seasons but had chemistry on a regular pair with Marcus Peterson. … Brian BoyleF: Had 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 66 games last season after signing a professional tryout contract Sept. 3, 2021, and not playing in 2020-21. The 37-year-old remains an unrestricted free agent.
On the cusp
Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D: The 23-year-old, chosen by the Arizona Coyotes in the first round (No. 23) of the 2017 NHL Draft, has five points (one goal, four assists) in 20 games for the Penguins. Joseph could stick at the NHL level this season, partially tasked with replacing the lost production of Matheson. … Kasper Bjorkqvist, F: The 25-year-old, selected in the second round (No. 61) of the 2016 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut last season, scoring one goal in six games, and had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 54 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League during his first full professional season. … Valtteri Puustinen, F: The 23-year-old, a seventh-round pick (No. 203) in the 2019 NHL Draft, had an assist in his NHL debut against the Vegas Golden Knights on March 11. He had 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) in 73 AHL games last season.
What they still need
The Penguins are content returning a similar group, leaving few possible moves after signing Letang and forwards Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Rickard Rakell, Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen to new contracts. They will need to shed salary to become compliant with the NHL salary cap, possibly by making another trade.
They said it
When my agent mentioned [Pittsburgh] to me, my eyes kind of got big because you look at what they’ve done in the past and the roster that they have, just with talking with some people, it’s a great organization, a great team. Their want to win is very apparent. That’s the most exciting thing for me is to be on a team that’s ready and eager to win.” — defenseman Jeff Petry
Letang had an NHL career high in points and was tied for sixth in the NHL among defensemen. He also had the seventh-most shots on goal at the position (214) and was tied with Noah Dobson of the New York Islanders for eighth in power-play points (22). Letang should be considered a top 60 overall fantasy player and top 10 defenseman option after re-signing with the Penguins to keep their three-time Stanley Cup championship core with him and elite centers Sidney Crosby and owner intact. He could also benefit from having more support around him after Pittsburgh acquired Petry, who has renewed fantasy appeal. Petry had four straight 40-point seasons for the Canadiens from 2017-18 to 2020-21. — Anna Dua
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen — Jeff Carter — Kasperi Kapanen
Ryan Poehling — Teddy Blueger — Brock McGinn
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson — Jeff Petry
Ty Smith — Jan Rutta
Injured: Drake Caggiula