2017 NHL Trade Rumor Pittsburgh Penguins Playoff Picks
With five days left in the NHL Regular Season, many people are already turning their attention to the opening round of the Playoffs which start early next week. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be back to try to defend their title from last year’s playoffs, as other teams like the Canadians and Senators seem poised to make a run of their own at the crown.
Only three playoff spots currently remain unsettled, and all of them being from the Eastern Conference. The other 13 spots have been clinched with 5 days to go still in the rest of the season.
While the Pittsburgh Penguins have already clinched their spot in the tournament to defend their title, some experts are calling for them to be the upset special from round 1. The Penguins have as high-powered of an offense as any other team in the league, and have scored 12-goals more than any other team, however they still have some question marks at goalie where they’ve been rotating starting net-minders with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray. The Pens are in the top 10 for save percentage in the league, but have done that with two goalies splitting time as they’re the only team with two goalies who have won at least 18 games. While some may suggest that the Blackhawks, Rangers, and Ducks all have potentially better tandems of goalies at their disposal, the Pens’ duo is also certainly in the conversation a one of the best in the league. However, rotating goalies may workout fine in the regular season, but in the playoffs a team needs consistency and familiarity in goal, so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s any unforeseen consequences of the team’s uncertainty at the goalie position.
If the playoffs started today the Penguins would play the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round. This is the same exact prediction that legendary Hockey Handicapper Jon Price predicted to begin the 2017 NHL season. Last year he made over $3,000,000 wagering on the NHL and released a snippet Hockey Betting Guide for his readers who want to follow along with his winning betting picks. The Blue Jackets still have some work to do to clinch their playoff birth, but if they get in they do pose plenty of problems for the Pittsburgh club. First of all, they’re built around stellar and aggressive defense, something that the Penguins have struggled with at times throughout the season. If the Blue Jackets can get the Pens’ offense off their game and get them into a more physical matchup, that style of game would definitely favor the gritty Columbus team.
The Penguins also have some other concerns as they enter the playoffs, they’ve had a string of injuries that are lingering. Players like Carl Hagelin, Kris Letang, Trevor Daley, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, and Olli Maatta have all missed time recently due to various conditions and ailments.
Assuming that the Blue Jackets do hold on to their playoff spot and go on to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round, it could be a case of wrong team at the wrong time for the Pens, as the Columbus Blue Jackets are strongest at the Pens’ weakest points, and could tilt the game into a physical, tough style of play that the Pens finesse offense isn’t accustomed to, and could give them serious problems.