Following another early exit from the NHL playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins had numerous questions surrounding the team.
As training camp continues to draw near, the Penguins have answered some of those questions but others linger around and some new ones have been asked.
A lot of the questions revolve around roster construction and whether the moves made will benefit the team, but what about Kasperi Kapanen?
Can the recently re-signed Kapanen turn his game around and find the production he hit in 2020-21?
It went without saying that Kapanen under performed in 2021-22, but he managed to sign a new contract with the same annual salary.
To make the new deal seem even slightly worth it, Kapanen will have to either find his old form of offensive output, or play defensively like his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Either on offense or defense, Kapanen needs a new level to help the Penguins win.
One of the biggest issues that plagued the Penguins in 2021-22 was the amount of injuries they sustained.
Evan Rodrigues was the only player last season in Pittsburgh to play all 82 games, while the stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missed portions of the year.
It’s quite simple, the more time Crosby, Malkin, and other helpers like Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust play the game, the better the team will be.
Injuries are going to happen, but the Penguins have to keep their best players as healthy as possible.
When injuries do occur, however, prospects are given opportunities to show their worth.
Despite a majority of the roster remaining the same, will the Penguins attempt to utilize their prospects a little more in 2022-23?
It’s a make or break year for a guy like PO Joseph; he needs his time on NHL ice to prove the kind of defender he can be in the future.
There isn’t much room in the forward core, but the Penguins shouldn’t be afraid to give Sam Poulin, Valtteri Puustinen, or even Alex Nylander an extended look in the NHL.
The kids in the system have just as much to prove as the veterans, they can be game changers if given the right opportunity and can set up the team for a bright future.
The Penguins have questions for the 2022-23 season but if answered properly, it should be a successful year.
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