Penguins 2018-19 primer: The 10 most important questions as camp looms Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette
By Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Friday morning inside the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the 2018-19 Penguins will take the ice for the first time as a team. When that happens, they’ll officially turn the page on last season.
Pretty much everyone associated with the organization can’t wait. It’s been way too long, they’ll tell you, the result of an uncustomary, early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That loss, though, and the regular season that preceded it created plenty of questions.
Nothing catastrophic, mind you. Much of this stuff is the result of winning and the fact that, when you’re good, people are going to pick and parse everything about you.
But they’re questions nonetheless. Here, then, are 10 key issues that the Penguins face:
1. Ever since general manager Jim Rutherford signed defenseman Jack Johnson on July 1, people wanted to know who Johnson’s defense partner will be.
2.Another key move this offseason was the proclamation that Daniel Sprong is ready for, and will see, regular NHL minutes.
3. Speaking of Brassard, there’s a huge question here concerning him specifically: Is he the right third-line center for this team?
4. We’re talking about the Penguins here, so there’s also going to be injury questions.
5. Looking at individual players, the injury question is going to keep coming up with Matt Murray, until he proves he can stay healthy for an extended period of time.
6. Can Phil Kessel replicate his success from a season ago? When the Penguins struggled early, Kessel was unquestionably their best player, their only consistent source of offense.
7. The Penguins’ bottom-six features a multitude of questions.
8. The Penguins aren’t going to configure their bottom-six based on their penalty kill, but they do need to be cognizant of who exactly will kill penalties.
9. A year ago, the Penguins set a franchise record for power-play success, converting at a 26.2-percent clip.
10. Nobody should doubt what Jake Guentzel can do in the playoffs. It’s only two years, but he’s been one of the best playoff producers in NHL history.
To read Mackey's entire column go to: