3 Upgrades Pittsburgh Penguins Need In The New Year

The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't been up to par with what was expected of them this season. Once again, it is just a few players carrying the team and it isn't enough. They still believe that they can win...for now. If they want to do that and are still in the playoff race come trade deadline, there are a number of very obvious areas that need to be addressed.

3rd Pairing Defenseman

The third pairing of the Penguins is very weak compared to teams around the league. There is a huge gap between the team's top-four and their bottom pairing. The odd thing is there is a lot of younger talent in the system and on the team that can fill those roles, but haven't been given a good chance or a chance at all. Seeing how the bottom pairing plays around 12 minutes a game, it puts a lot of pressure on the top-four to perform. Since the Penguins don't trust what they have internally, there will be lots of depth defenseman better than what they have that they can trade for.

3rd Line Winger

I noted how only a few players are carrying the team for the Penguins. In the bottom-six, the scoring and usefulness is very limited. The Penguins have been forced to dip into their system to find any adequate help, and that is limited as well. While Valtteri Puustinen and Radim Zohorna have been alright in a third line role, for a team with aspirations to make a deep run, there are fourth line/scratches at best. The Penguins will need someone who can rough it up and produce offensively or their third line wing.

Forward Depth

The fourth line talent is even weaker as there is nearly no production. Jeff Carter has fallen very fast while with the Penguins and there needs to be some new blood in there, whether it is via trade or line/roster shuffling. Until that happens, the team will continue to be dragged down.

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