As for tonight, we will only see (or should I say hear about) only a few of those players who will don the sweaters in the regular season.
Before I go any further, I have launched my podcast, "The Pensimist Podcast." Click here to hear the first episode.
But this is not a preview post for the aforementioned game; this is a summation of the last several months for the Penguins.
- The first thing has to be all of the new additions to the team, of course most notably is star sniper, Phil Kessel. It has been almost four months since the trade was made to land Kessel and I'm still in disbelief that Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta are still on the team. That's my biggest takeaway from the trade, If I'm being honest.
- On the same day that Brandon Sutter was traded, the Penguins acquired Nick Bonino, a potential top-four defenseman in Adam Clendening, and signed former Pens killer and Washington Capital forward, Eric Fehr. All in a span of about 10 minutes. While I'll miss Sutter, I'm excited about the proven NHLers, but more so what Clendening could eventually become.
- Sergei Plotnikov is the definition of an enigma for me. I'm curious to see how he will fit in to this roster and wish him nothing but success. I'd love to see him succeed and be embraced by the fans, earning him a longer deal with the Pens. I'm sure it would make Evgeni Malkin happy.
- I'm thrilled to hear from head coach Mike Johnston that David Perron, Beau Bennett, and Pascal Dupuis are having exceptional training camps. I'm a huge fan of Perron and Dupuis and hopeful that Bennett can stay healthy and produce. This is all good news heading into the season.
- While Daniel Sprong seems to be the draft pick most are excited for, I'm really intrigued by Nikita Pavlychev, the seventh-round selection from Yaroslavl, Russia. The kid is 6'7" and 200 lbs. He's already a big kid and centers that tall don't come around too often. I know he's years away, but we fans could be pining for him to start in the lineup down the road like we were earlier this season for Oskar Sundqvist.
- Going back to the first point, the departures on this team are a big deal as well. The Pens lost Scott Harrington, Kasperi Kapanen, Paul Martin, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Thomas Greiss, Nick Spaling, and Daniel Winnik; just to name a few. Aside from the two names at the beginning of that list, the other players did contribute and by all accounts, were liked in the locker room. Here's to hoping this team gels.
- Lastly, kudos to general manager Jim Rutherford. After mismanaging his team and the cap late last season, he was under fire this year and I believe this off-season, he righted most of his wrongs. I only say most because we can only wait to see how this team performs during the season. On paper, they have to be a heavy favorite to come out of the East. The biggest thing that this team needs is not to trade Rob Scuderi away, rather, it is to stay healthy. If they can do that, I think we'll be celebrating a lot of wins from our seats in Consol, or our comfortable furniture at home.