Let's be perfectly blunt, the Pittsburgh Penguins' bottom six as it currently stands is not great. With over two months left until training camp and several upgrades still on the market, there are opportunities for Penguins general manager Ron Hextall to improve his forward depth.
Early in this off-season, Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke explained how the front office is attacking this summer. "There has to be some sequence here," Burke said on the Jeff Marek Show, "one has to sign and then the other." That sequential mindset has been evident in the Penguins transactions, splitting the off-season into two separate phases.
The Penguins opened up the off-season with a primary focus of bringing back the top end of the lineup. Bryan Rust re-signed within two weeks of the end of the season. Re-signing franchise cornerstones Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin was the next objective. After that, the Penguins brought back Rickard Rakell to round out their top six.
The focus of the front office then shifted to revamping the defense. Two trades brought in two new blueliners and shipped out just as many.
The bottom six have been thrown onto the back burner this summer, but that will soon become the focus of Hextall and Burke. With another shoe that seems set to drop on the back end, the Penguins should have more cap space available to bolster the depth of the forward core.
Even if the Penguins fail to make significant additions to the bottom six before the beginning of the season, they are in a much better position to adjust the roster midseason. The current projected bottom six will look much different once March and April come around next season. However, changes could be coming as soon as the beginning of training camp.
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