The Penguins’ historic run comes to an end


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COLUMBUS, OHIO – APRIL 13: Mikael Pyyhtia #82 of the Columbus Blue Jackets battles Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins for position during the second period Nationwide Arena on April 13, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have continuously built great team after great team and have made a dynasty of making the NHL playoffs. But sadly, the streak ended this year after sixteen straight years of making the playoffs and winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016, and 2017. It was one of the saddest things to see as a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. As I have grown up, I have always seen the team in the playoffs every year. Not being able to see them compete for the cup is just awful, but it does bring about major changes and executive decisions that need to be made by the Penguins’ staff.

Off of the ice, one of the key reasons that the team ended up slowly trickling down the standings as the season progressed was because of the terrible front office moves made by Ron Hextall. Throughout the entire year, he continued to make pointless moves. Hextall traded away eight draft picks this year, which is eight opportunities that the team could have used to draft younger talent, but instead, he traded for mid-range players that were not super young. The terrible thing is that the Penguins roster is made up of aging players and not addressing this issue is going to ruin the team. Luckily, the organization decided to part ways with Hextall which is a great first move.

On the ice, the lack of effort by some of the top players was pathetic, and I can not even begin to express how mad I am. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Kris Letang are the only players who acted like they wanted to play and win. The rest of the roster let the team down. Jeff Carter was slow and old and played like it. Petry was an awful trade simply because he was injured half of the time. Worst of all, Evgeni Malkin has been an assistant captain for fifteen years, and he acted very immature as a leader this year. He was very lazy in the defensive zone and never acted like he wanted to be out there. He cost the team numerous goals and penalty minutes. He was very disappointing to watch. I have liked Malkin for so long; however, seeing him this year disappointed me, and I want to get rid of him so badly.

The Pittsburgh Penguins organization needs to make multiple changes this offseason, and luckily it has already started to do so. But, it definitely is still sad to see a playoff dynasty and a program that has excelled for sixteen straight years come to a grinding halt. It is very frustrating, but I am hopeful that the future will be bright for the Penguins, and the team can look to make a new run in the future. Let the new streak begin!