The Pittsburgh Penguins may be forced to make a “major trade” if things don’t start going their way.
The back-to-back Stanley Cup champs entered the 2017-18 season with enormous expectations, but so far have strung together a fairly mediocre campaign that has left them sitting right in the middle of the Eastern Conference. With the midway point of the season quickly approaching, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford publicly stated that he’s disappointed and that the time to make a decision is quickly approaching.
Rutherford’s comments, as seen in the Post-Gazette, are a blunt take that should serve as a wake-up call to everyone on the roster.
“We’re coming in to a critical period where we’ll make a decision whether we need to shake things up or not.
I’m not going to get into lists. I’m not saying we have to shake it up.
We’re good enough to be better than we’re doing. Hopefully that’s the way it goes here in the next little while. If it doesn’t, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that a major trade would come out of this.”
Rutherford emphasized that he believes the Penguins are capable of playing better hockey. However, with a record that’s hovering around the .500 mark, Rutherford has a point that time is running out. Past successes can only take a team so far.
The Penguins do have several areas they could address. One area – an area that Rutherford personally mentioned – includes adding some depth at center. Rutherford also mentioned trying to find more balance out of the team’s offense.
What Rutherford didn’t mention was trying to find a way to cut down on all of the goals his team is allowing. That includes trying to improve a penalty kill that ranks near the bottom-third of the league. Upgrading on defense is a tall task, but it’s an area the Penguins shouldn’t ignore.
Stay tuned. Don’t be surprised to see the Penguins make some moves if their lackluster play continues.