ShareThis Page
For Penguins, offseason roster changes all but guaranteed after first-round sweep | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

For Penguins, offseason roster changes all but guaranteed after first-round sweep

Jonathan Bombulie
1034486_web1_GTR-Pens08-041719
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Islanders’ Devon Toews defends on the Penguins’ Phil Kessel in the third period during Game 4 of round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.

A sullen group of Pittsburgh Penguins players sat in their stalls in a losing locker room Tuesday night knowing full well they just finished the last game this team would play together a group.

Being swept in the first round of the playoffs inevitably leads to personnel changes.

Even if it didn’t, the team’s salary-cap situation necessitates at least some adjustments be made.

The end of an era? That’s probably too dramatic. The end of this particular roster as constructed? That’s a sure thing.

“Every year we try to win,” center Evgeni Malkin said. “You can’t change the whole team. Maybe (general manager Jim Rutherford) can change one or two, maybe like more, but we’re the same system, the same coaches, the same players too. We need to just play better.”

It’s practically a guarantee that Phil Kessel’s name will pop up in trade rumors for the third consecutive summer. After the game, Kessel himself said he couldn’t say whether he’d be back in the fall.

“I don’t know at this point,” Kessel said. “We’ll see how it goes this summer.”

Beyond that, Penguins leadership will have to sit down and decide which direction it wants the roster to go as the team’s current championship era draws one year closer to ending.

A February trade for Jared McCann and Nick Bjugstad hints that Rutherford might want his roster to get younger and faster. The newest additions on defense, however, indicate that concept may not apply to the blue line.

“I’ve got to try to assess the whole thing over the next little while,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I have so much respect for the group of players that we have. We have great people. They’re character guys. They’re great players, and our coaching staff has a lot of respect for this group. It’s a privilege to coach this team.

“Having said that, we have high expectations as well. When you don’t meet those expectations, then everybody’s got to take a step back and soul-search and find out what we learn from it, what are the takeaways and how do we get better. What those answers are, it’s hard for me to say right now.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.