10 Most Overachieving Pittsburgh Penguins of All Time
While many of these players lived up to the immense hype that surrounded them to become great players, others greatly exceeded the modest expectations placed upon them.
Here we take a look at the 10 most overachieving players ever to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
10. Mark Recchi, RW
Selected by the Penguins in the fourth round of the 1988 NHL Draft, Mark Recchi was an essential part of the 1991 Stanley Cup team.
Recchi lead the team with 113 points in the Stanley Cup season and was second behind Mario Lemieux in points during the playoff run.
The 5'10" winger was traded in a blockbuster deal during the 1991-1992 season, but would return to Pittsburgh on two separate occasions later in his career.
Although he played the majority of his career with rivals of the Penguins, Mark Recchi played a major role in Penguins history despite being selected in the fourth round.
9. Robert Lang, C
A seventh-round selection of the Los Angeles Kings in 1990, Robert Lang took a while to make a name for himself in the NHL.
He didn't get to Pittsburgh until 1997 and he broke out during the 2000-2001 season that saw the Penguins make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lang amassed 261 points in 345 total games for the Penguins and was an excellent part of the talented 2000-2001 team.
8. James Neal, LW
Coming over in a trade with the Dallas Stars for defenseman Alex Goligoski, James Neal was supposed to provide some forward support for the Penguins.
He did much more than that in becoming a first team All-Star and scoring 40 goals and 41 assists in 2011-2012.
Nobody expected that kind of production out of the 6'2" winger and Neal was a great complement to Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin.
James Neal exceeded all expectations last season and has set himself up as one of the top wingers in the NHL going forward.
7. Max Talbot, C
Max Talbot was never a superstar for the Pittsburgh Penguins, which makes his game seven performance in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals that much more surprising.
An eighth-round pick of the Penguins in 2002, Talbot scored both goals in the game seven win over the Detroit Red Wings in what had turned into one of the better rivalries in the NHL.
It would have been extremely difficult for Penguins fans to stomach a second-consecutive Cup loss at the hands of the Red Wings and Talbot protected them from that disappointment.
Max Talbot will never be confused for Mario Lemieux, but he will go down as a Penguins legend thanks to one of the best game seven performances in team history.
6. Ken Wregget, G
A third-round pick in 1982, Ken Wregget was traded to the Penguins in that Mark Recchi blockbuster deal.
While he was stuck behind Tom Barasso for most of his seven seasons with Pittsburgh, he was able to rack up 104 wins and win a Stanley Cup with the team in 1991-1992.
Wregget was a consistent, solid option behind Barasso and had several outstanding seasons for the Penguins during the 90s.
5. Rick Tocchet, RW
Yet another player acquired by the Penguins in the Mark Recchi trade, Rick Tocchet was a major part of the 1991-1992 Stanley Cup team.
A former sixth-round pick in 1983, Tocchet put up 19 points in the 14 playoff games on the road to the Stanley Cup. He continued to put up big numbers during his next two seasons with the Penguins.
Despite leaving the Penguins in 1994, Rick Tocchet was a major part of perhaps the best Pittsburgh Penguins team of all time.
4. Kris Letang, D
A third round selection by the Penguins in 2005, Kris Letang has turned himself into one of the best defenseman in the NHL today.
A smooth-skating facilitator of the power play, Letang has seen great improvements on both ends of the ice.
Despite battling injuries last season, the 6'0" Letang was still able to put up 42 points in just 51 games.
At just 25 years old Kris Letang has a bright future ahead of him after working hard to become one of the best defenseman in the NHL.
3. Joe Mullen, RW
One of the most beloved members of the Penguins' two Stanley Cup teams, Joe Mullen was an underrated player in the early 90s.
"Slippery Rock Joe" scored 325 points for the Penguins during his time with the team and even made an All-Star game in 1994.
Despite playing in Pittsburgh at the tail end of his career, Joe Mullen was an exceptional force for some of the greatest teams in Penguins history.
2. Syl Apps, C
A fourth-round pick of the New York Rangers in 1964, Syl Apps was one of the greatest athletes in Canada during his time.
When he finally came to Pittsburgh 1970 it was the beginning of one of the best careers of any Penguin player in history.
Apps put up 493 points between 1970-1977 for the Penguins, cementing himself as one of the best centers in Pittsburgh history.
1. Kevin Stevens, LW
One of the best players to ever put on a Penguins jersey, Kevin Stevens wasn't picked until the sixth round of the 1983 NHL Draft.
He came over to the Penguins in 1987 and was one of the stars of Pittsburgh's two Stanley Cup winning teams.
From 1989-1993 with Pittsburgh, Stevens put up a combined 478 points in just 391 games and was the quintessential power forward in the NHL.
His career was derailed by a nasty hit in the 1993 playoffs, but Kevin Stevens will always be remembered as one of the top forwards in the game and a superstar on the Penguins Stanley Cup teams.
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