3 Questions Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins went through a summer of transition as new leadership was brought in to try and get the Pens back to the promised land. With an aging core and lofty expectations to succeed. Kyle Dubas is now in charge and looking to right the ship. It was a busy offseason in Pittsburgh, here's three questions facing the team heading into the 2023-24 season:

Which Erik Karlsson Shows Up?

Dubas' biggest splash was a three-team deal to acquire Erik Karlsson, who is fresh off his Norris-trophy winning season. Regardless of the recent success, Karlsson's game is still a big question mark as it was only two years ago when he recorded 35 points in 50 games. The Penguins are hopeful Karlsson is the missing piece. His ability to move the puck and join the rush should do wonders and it will be fun to watch the power play set up. Pittsburgh needs Karlsson to stay healthy and if he does so, another 80-plus points could be easily reached. The team is hopeful the 30-point seasons and ankle injuries are behind him.

Who Replaces Jake Guentzel?

Some of the biggest news in Pittsburgh came on the injury front as forward Jake Guentzel underwent offseason ankle surgery and will be out of the lineup until November at the earliest. The team will need players to step up and help carry the offense. Look for Rickard Rakell to be leaned on and newcome Rielly Smith. There's also Alex Nylander to keep an eye on at camp. He'll be given every opportunity to find a spot in the top six. As for Guentzel, he recorded 73 points in 78 games last season and is entering a contract year, making $6 million against the cap.

Can Tristan Jarry Become Elite Starter?

Fresh off a new deal, goaltender Tristan Jarry will be asked to carry the load this season for the Penguins. He's had his moments of brilliance these past few seasons, however hasn't been as consistent as the team would like in some big moments. Jarry's save percentage the past two playoffs is in the 870's. Dubas went out and signed Alex Nedeljkovic to a one-year deal, however his game is still to be found and he'll be better suited for a true backup role in Pittsburgh. The Penguins will only go as far as Jarry can take them.

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