Welcome to Pittsburgh Penguins News & Rumors, where we cover all the hot topics and dive into more than just box scores. The team is gearing up for a couple huge games back-to-back against the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators. Get ready for some rapid-fire headlines running us through all the noise surrounding Pittsburgh’s beloved Penguins.
Hockey Insider Sees Fleury Reunion in Pittsburgh
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Marc-Andre Fleury is likely heading back to the Pittsburgh Penguins this offseason. The veteran netminder has been linked to a return to the Penguins since he was being dangled for trade from the Vegas Golden Knights and ended up with the Chicago Blackhawks. The travelling netminder has since been dealt to the Minnesota Wild and Friedman sees it as very possible he makes his way back to join his ex-teammates in Pittsburgh.
Fleury turns 38 as next season kicks off and enters this offseason as a unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team. Earlier this season, the Penguins alum showed his loyalty to the franchise as he reportedly vetoed a trade to the Capitals. It’s obvious his heart is still in Pittsburgh and this isn’t going to be just a feel-good story. He’s been on a tear of late, especially since joining the Wild where he’s posted a .930 save percentage in four appearances.
Related: Penguins Need to Play Better Against the Rangers to Have Playoff Success
The Penguins have Tristan Jarry signed to a $3.5 million contract for next season and currently don’t have a second goalie signed. Look for Fleury to sign on the dotted line this summer, in a move that could spark Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin taking a home-town discount to reunite the band.
Penguins Forward Could Return to Action vs. Capitals
Penguins forward Jason Zucker has the worst luck possible. After another long layoff rehabbing a core muscle injury, he made his way back into the lineup against the Wild earlier this week. After recording an assist on his opening shift, he was hit from behind into the boards by Wild forward Kevin Fiala and ended up getting all sorts of twisted up. The Penguins winger left the game and did not return, and he missed Thursday’s action against the New York Rangers.
Zucker is expected back into Saturday’s lineup against Washington and should suit up on the team’s second line with Malkin and Rickard Rakell. Getting this second line going on a consistent basis is going to be vital for the Penguins’ success come postseason. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are a battle and it takes absolutely everyone contributing. If Zucker and company aren’t able to provide secondary scoring to complement the big line, Pittsburgh is in trouble. So far in 32 games this season, the California-native has recorded 14 points. Frankly, that’s not good enough, and look for the veteran winger to try and get back on track down the stretch.
Penguins Starter Needs to Get Back on Track
Penguins goalie Jarry is the clear-cut No. 1 netminder heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While he’s shown throughout this season that he’s more than capable of leading Pittsburgh to the promised land, lately that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
The 26-year-old netminder has only recorded one win in his last five games, and here’s a stat for you, the Penguins haven’t beat a team in regulation that’s currently in a playoff position since March 13. Jarry’s last win came against the Detroit Red Wings and he’s since been defeated by the Rangers twice and the Colorado Avalanche twice.
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There was some talk about how general manager Ron Hextall didn’t go out and get a veteran to help provide more goaltending depth at the trade deadline. A big reason for this was the fact he had no interest in trading a conditional first-round pick to the Wild for Fleury, and now management awaits for Jarry to try and get his game back on track over the course of these final few weeks before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Penguins Need More Out of a Couple of Forwards
While a ton of the attention this season has been on Kasperi Kapanen’s struggles and rightfully so, lately you can add Evan Rodrigues to the struggle bus. After starting off this season as hot as anyone in the league, Rodrigues has managed one goal in his last 13 games and two in his last 20. Mike Sullivan has moved him all over the top three lines of late and it hasn’t seemed to spark anything.
It was a great sight to see the Penguins winger get nine shots off against the Rangers on Wednesday, but unfortunately he isn’t paid to pepper the goalie, he’s paid the light the lamp. Hopefully, the Penguins can get back to full strength over the course of the next couple of games so Sullivan and company can set up their lines exactly how they want them to be constructed for the postseason. It would be nice for Pittsburgh to play a couple weeks with their 1-A lineup to see just how good their team is capable of playing before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.