Pens face a big offseason after another early playoff exit

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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.

Colton Brain, Sports Editor

Following the 4-2 series defeat in the first round against the Islanders, there are a lot of questions concerning where the Penguins go from here.

They have had three straight first-round playoff exits, and all three of those Penguins teams have underperformed greatly considering their talent.

The first question is if it is time to part ways with Head Coach Mike Sullivan. It should not be forgotten that he led the Penguins to the first back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in the salary cap era.

However, the past is the past and quite frankly, his teams have not been living to expectations.

The team has relied way too heavily on Sidney Crosby for production. He is the best player in the world, but to have a Stanley Cup season, he cannot have the weight of his team on his back every night.

Sullivan is definitely on the hot seat, and if he is not let go this season, next season will decide his fate in Pittsburgh.

The next question is the core of the team. The big three of Crosby, Malkin, and Letang should stay together, even with Malkin’s declining production. 

But someone on the Crosby line is likely to be dealt this season. The team is in the right hands with Brian Burke and Ron Hextall, and they will not hesitate to make a deal with someone — likely consisting of either Bryan Rust or Jake Guentzel. 

The acquisition of Jeff Carter this season was huge, and it turned out to have an instant payoff. Much of the same should be expected this offseason.

With many question marks at the end of this disappointing season, the Penguins will try to not repeat the same failures that they had after their previous back-to-back Cup run.