2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Pittsburgh's Acquisitions Key to Lengthy Postseason

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2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Pittsburgh's Acquisitions Key to Lengthy Postseason
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Free agent acquisition Zbynek Michalek has helped to anchor Pittsburgh's first-ranked penalty killing unit.

Change is the only certainty in the NHL's salary cap era. Dynasties are harder to come by as teams are forced to make difficult financial and personnel decisions each year, but sustained success can still be had by the clubs which are best able to maneuver within the system.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the most consistently successful clubs since the salary cap was enacted at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, with five straight postseason appearances and counting and a Stanley Cup win to their credit.

Pittsburgh fell short of a third straight finals appearance last spring when their defense faltered in the semifinals round against Montreal. Over the summer and throughout the course of the season, General Manager Ray Shero brought in a number of new players to help ensure the team doesn't endure another quick postseason departure.

Seven starters from last season's playoff roster were lost to trade or free agency. Filling in for the departed and for missing starters Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke are ten starters who were not with the club a season ago.

In the midst of their first round match with a very capable Tampa Bay Lightning team, Pittsburgh will continue to rely on its new acquisitions—acquisitions which have arrived via trade, free agency or minor league call-up—to carry them into the next round.

Missing from the list are Dustin Jeffrey (undisclosed injury) and Mike Comrie (healthy scratch).

Given the injury situation in Pittsburgh, these ten players will be instrumental to the Penguins' success this spring.

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