LAST SEASON: 47-29-6, 100 points. Finished second in Metropolitan Division. Lost to Washington Capitals in Eastern Conference semifinals.
COACH: Mike Sullivan (fourth season, sixth NHL season).
ADDED: D Jack Johnson, C Matt Cullen.
LOST: F Conor Sheary, F Tom Kuhnhackl, D Matt Hunwick, F Carter Rowney.
PLAYER TO WATCH: G Matt Murray. The 24-year-old endured an up and down first season as the franchise’s full-time starter. His goals against average (2.92) and save percentage (.907) all took significant dips off his previous two seasons. Having spotty play in front of him didn’t help. If Murray can return to the steady form that helped the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, Pittsburgh will be a tough out in the postseason.
OUTLOOK: Pittsburgh’s bid to become the first team in more than 30 years to “threepeat” ended with a loss to Washington. They opted to tinker than totally retool in the offseason, splurging on Johnson and bringing back the 42-year-old Cullen to provide depth down the middle. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin around, the Penguins will always be in the mix. But with the core of Crosby, Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang all in their early 30s, staying fresh for eight months will be a challenge.
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