Can the Pittsburgh Penguins challenge for the Stanley Cup this Season?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the National Hockey League’s oldest teams and have a rich history of success since their formation back in 1967. The Penguins have won three Stanley Cup titles, earning back-to-back successes in 1991 and 1992 before most recently emerging victorious at the end of the 2009 campaign. In recent years, they haven’t quite performed at their very best and have suffered from bad trading, injury issues and downright bad luck. This season, however, they will be quietly confident of defying the odds and going all the way to the NHL’s showpiece seven-match series.

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Depite a barren spell of six seasons without a Stanley Cup appearance, Pittsburgh stand an excellet chance of going all the way to the finals in the upcoming season. They acted wisely in the offseason, acquiring the deadly Phil Kessel as well as Nick Bonino and Eric Fehr. Meanwhile, they managed to keep two of their top defensive talents, Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot. This duo will certainly help Pittsburgh to remain organised at the back and will provide that added bit of grit and determination to the Penguins’ side. Maatta missed a significant chunk of the 2014-15 season and Pittsburgh fans will be glad to see him back in action next month. In addition, the Penguins also signed first-round draft pick Daniel Sprong to a permanent contract last month and he will be a welcome addition to the franchise.

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Phil Kessel is one of the deadliest attacking players in the league and should be an instant hit at Pittsburgh. The former Toronto Maple Leafs star, who cost Pittsburgh a first-round pick and top prospect Kasperi Kapanen, has scored 247 goals in 668 National Hockey League matches, while he has also recorded 273 assists throughout his career as well. If he can continue his form for the Penguins, they will benefit greatly from a much-needed goal threat and will be one of the most exciting teams to watch throughout the season. Pittsburgh are priced at 10/1 with bet365 to win the Stanley Cup this season and Kessel’s goals will be key to their success throughout the campaign.

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The Penguins managed to ship both Nick Spaling and Brandon Sutter out of the franchise in the offseason – a decision that many believe will prove to be an excellent one. While both players were able to ‘do a job’, neither set the world on fire last season and were part of the big problem when it came to Pittsburgh’s depth issues across the team. They won’t really be missed and the Penguins, who managed to bring a number of future draft picks back into the organisation, must be happy with their business and many are touting them for success after an effective offseason.

The Penguins have reached the postseason in each of the last nine seasons and they will be extremely confident of making that a tenth straight campaign in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they did not enjoy a perfect offseason as defenceman Paul Martin left to join San Jose Shark but the Pittsburgh board, players, organisation and supporters will be happy with their performance ahead of the curtain raiser against the Dallas Stars next month. With a bit of luck, the Penguins could go far this season and may even feature in the Stanley Cup series for the first time since 2009.