Metropolitan Division 2014-15 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL
2014-15 NHL season preview: Metropolitan Division
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Thursday October 2nd, 2014

MORE METRO PREVIEWS: Capitals | Rangers | Flyers | Devils | Islanders | Blue Jackets | Hurricanes

NHL
Best case scenarios for Eastern Conference teams
COACH: Mike Johnston

2013-14 RECORD: 51-24-7, 109 points (first in Metropolitan, lost to Rangers in second round)

VITAL SIGNS: 3.0 goals per game (5th), 2.5 goals-against per game (10th); 23.4 power play pct. (1st); 85.0 penalty kill pct. (5th); shootout record: 7-3 (3rd)

NOTABLE ARRIVALS: D Christian Ehrhoff, F Patric Hornqvist, F Nick Spaling, F Blake Comeau, F Steve Downie, G Thomas Greiss

NOTABLE DEPARTURES: F James Neal, F Jussi Jokinen, D Matt Niskanen, D Brooks Orpik, D Deryk Engelland, F Tanner Glass, F Joe Vitale, F Brian Gibbons

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

Forwards

Chris Kunitz — Sidney Crosby — Patric Hornqvist
Pascal Dupuis — Evgeni Malkin — Steve Downie
Nick Spaling — Brandon Sutter — Beau Bennett
Blake Comeau — Marcel Goc — Craig Adams

Defensemen

Paul Martin — Christian Ehrhoff
Olli Maatta — Kris Letang
Simon Despres — Rob Scuderi

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fluery
Thomas Greiss

Marc-Andre Fleury

• Statistically ranking all 30 NHL goaltenders

PLAYER TO WATCH: Olli Maatta 

He's coming off shoulder surgery, but keep an eye on him once this 20-year-old Finn is fully healthy. Maatta’s poise at the point won him praise during a rookie season in which he played 78 games and tallied 29 points while helping the Penguins overcome a wave of injuries to their blueline corps. Learning from the likes of Kris Letang and Paul Martin will speed his development into a top-tier defenseman, and his penchant for stepping up in the offensive zone should reveal improvement as he learns to temper his offensive instincts with the responsibility of being a cog in new coach Mike Johnston's defensive scheme.

PREDICTION: 102 points (first in Metropolitan)

• ATLANTIC PREVIEWS: Canadiens | Bruins | Sabres | Panthers | Maple Leafs | Red Wings | Lightning | Senators

• CENTRAL PREVIEWS: Wild | Stars | Blackhawks | Avalanche | Jets | Predators | Blues

• PACIFIC PREVIEWS: Canucks | Sharks | Coyotes | Flames | Ducks | Oilers | Kings

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