Opinion: Penguins show signs of struggle early on

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The Penguins lost to the Islanders in the first round of the NHL playoffs, which will likely lead to a big offseason for the team.

Ethan Spozarski, Multimedia Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins are off to anything but a solid start, between falling behind in games, not scoring enough, and dealing with the resignation of General Manager Jim Rutherford. 

Rutherford, the 71-year old GM, stepped away citing personal reasons. Rutherford helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.  Assistant General Manager Patrik Allvin is serving as acting general manager.

The Penguins are 11 games into their season and of their five wins, four of them have come in overtime and shootouts.

Part of that has to do with the trade of starting goaltender Matt Murray to Ottawa. Tristan Jarry has been given the starting job, and it’s not looking too good. 

Jarry is 2-4-0 this season and is allowing 3.95 goals a game. As the team is 11 games into the season it has become clear that goaltending isn’t the complete issue, but it is a big one. Jarry’s inconsistent performances have gone to show maybe Jarry isn’t starting material for the Penguins. 

However, it’s not about having the best pieces on a team; it is about having the right ones. 

Back up Casey DeSmith — who has even less starting experience — has started four games and played in five. He is allowing 2.85 goals per game and has a save percentage of 88 percent. 

Another challenge the Penguins have been facing is a lack of support from the Penguin leaders. Defensemen Kris Letang and forward Evgeni Malkin combined have a total of nine points on the score sheet. 

The power play has also become a major issue for the Penguins. They have a 13.9 percent scoring rate on the man advantage. 

However, there are some players having a solid start to the season. Forward Teddy Blueger and defensemen Pierre-Oliver Joseph both have contributed to the small success produced by the Penguins. 

The 2021 season so far has raised questions for the Pens. The issue is whether they’ll be able to come up with answers before it’s too late.