The 2000s have been an up-and-down decade for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They began the decade with a pair of playoff appearances in 2000 and 2001, capping off a string of 11 straight playoff years. Then things got significantly worse. After making the conference final in 2001, the Penguins fell apart. The team ran into financial difficulties and ended up trading most of their marquee talent. They missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and continued to struggle with money woes.
In 2007, filled with a line-up of young stars, they returned to the playoffs. Despite losing to Ottawa in the first round, the team was definitely on the rise. They lost in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final to Detroit, but won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Today we look at the best players to suit up for the Penguins over the last decade and name the “Team of the 2000s.”
Note that only contributions to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2000s are taken into consideration when building this team. A talented player who achieved most of his accomplishments on another team or who saw better days in the previous decade will not make this team. Also, note that this is a team, not a collection of individuals. Attempts have been made to slot players into their natural positions whenever possible while still fielding a competitive team.
Obviously there will be debate, but here is the Pittsburgh Penguins Team of the 2000s.
This line scored a total of 747 points for the Penguins during the decade. Despite leaving the team in 2001, Jagr deserves to be on the first line of this team.
Current captain Sidney Crosby centers a tough power forward and explosive, two-way player.
Staal is technically a center, but he has played some wing. Malkin and Sykora played very well together.
Gary Roberts provides toughness while Lang and Morozov add scoring.
Sergei Gonchar – Brooks Orpik
Currently the Penguins number one defensive pairing. They’re number one for a reason. Gonchar is a key to the powerplay and Orpik is a physical presence.
Ryan Whitney – Rob Scuderi
Whitney provides offensive output and Scuderi is a defensive rock.
Dick Tarnstrom – Darius Kasparaitis
Another mixture of scoring and toughness.
He brought the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup.
A key to the Penguins playoff run in 2001.
Obviously this team has many more players from the early part and the late part of the decade. The Pittsburgh Penguins struggled during the middle part of the decade and did not have very many high end players. Also, looking at the list, it’s evident that the Penguins have had more depth at center over the past decade and less skill on the wings.
Who do you have on your team of the 2000s?