6 Penguins Who Will Definitely Be Back Next Season

There has been plenty of talk around the Pittsburgh Penguins about changes needed this offseason after stumbling to their second straight year of missing the playoffs. 

Even GM Kyle Dubas stated himself back at the trade deadline that the team "needs to get younger." Despite all the talk, however, there are at least five 30+ year-olds who definitely WILL be back next season, from all accounts. Three of them 35+. And a 6th player who's celebrating his 28th birthday today. 

According to Penguins reporter Nick Horwat of The Hockey News, these six are going nowhere:

  • Sidney Crosby
  • Evgeni Malkin
  • Kris Letang
  • Erik Karlsson
  • Marcus Pettersson
  • Bryan Rust
No explanation needed for the first three on this list, obviously. Crosby, Malkin and Letang are legendary on the Pittsburgh scene, three-time Stanley Cup champions, and simply are Penguins for life.  

Dubas went out on a big limb to bring in the then-reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson last summer in a blockbuster trade, and he isn't about to lose faith in the three-time Norris winner's fit on this team despite the disappointing overall results in the standings. 

In fact, posits Horwat, Karlsson had a strong season, despite registering nearly half of his previous year's point total. He did have a +4 rating, his first time on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger in five years. 

And Karlsson teamed well with the more defensively-minded Pettersson on the blueline, as the 28-year-old birthday boy had his best season in Pittsburgh, both offensively and defensively, with a +28 rating. He will likely be offered an extension this summer.

Finally, Rust, who has two Stanley Cup rings with the Pens, had a career-high 28 goals this past year, and is locked in at a $5.1 million cap hit for another four years. Horwat also calls him a true leader, on and off the ice.

Plenty of changes coming in Pittsburgh, but those six, it appears, won't be going anywhere.

Photo: © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports