Young forwards key to success for Pens


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The Pittsburgh Penguins have won a total of five Stanley Cup championships.

Austin Bechtold, Club Member

The Pittsburgh Penguins have figured it out, and their young forwards have benefited.

When Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin began their careers with the Penguins, the team had trouble developing young players into key contributors.

The Pens were known for trading multiple draft picks and young players with former GM Ray Shero. Shero’s main goal was to acquire experienced veterans ready to help compete in a playoff run.

The Penguins were never able to go on that run, so Shero lost his job.

Enter General Manager Jim Rutherford and then Coach Mike Sullivan to change the narrative in Pittsburgh.

Rutherford decided to keep most of his young players, knowing that they will soon be the key pieces to get over the top. Forwards Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Jake Guentzel have all proven Rutherford right.

The first three have helped the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, and Guentzel recorded the most points and game-winning goals as a rookie in the playoffs to help win the last championship.

The influence of Crosby and Malkin has helped these players and each one, except Kuhnhackl, who plays on the fourth line, plays with one of the stars.

Since Sullivan has arrived, young players have done nothing but score and contribute either on the power play, penalty kill, or at full strength. With two more forwards, Zach Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong, not far away, the recent trend could continue.

The Penguins have young players with promise: the promise that winning is possible on the road to becoming stars.

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