The Pittsburgh Penguins are front and center in the hockey world as they host the 2012 NHL Draft this weekend. The Penguins are a widely respected organization and they appeared to be an attractive choice to win the Stanley Cup when the playoffs got underway in April.
However, despite the aspirations of general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma, the plans were scuttled as they were eliminated harshly by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.
As the offseason gets underway in earnest with the draft and free agency right around the corner, the Penguins are in need of some good news. Center Jordan Staal, one of the team's mainstays after Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, turned down a 10-year contract extension with the Penguins. That shocking development led to a draft day trade to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Even though Staal is now an ex-Penguin, Pittsburgh should be one of the stronger teams in the Eastern Conference. The core of the team will be strong -- as long as Crosby is healthy -- and it will be up to Shero to fine-tune in free agency and add compelling new talent in the draft.