With the Penguins scheduled for a Casket Match Game 7 on Wednesday, some of the Pens fanbase are turning into bridge-jumpers.
I have all the confidence in the world that the Flightless Birds will pull this one out at home with the CEC faithful cheering them of.
However, it is never too early to start looking at the NHL offseason—the time when Stanley Cup champions are truly made.
Allow me please to gaze into my crystal ball and see what lies ahead for the NHL's favorite team.
Talbot is a fan favorite and with good reason—his two goals in Game 7 of the 2009 Cup finals will live forever in NHL lore. He also happens to be popular with the ladies on Pittsburgh's East Carson Street.
But the bottom line is that Talbot simply isn't producing at a level that will justify signing him to a raise long-term.
Talbot scored eight goals this year while making just over $1 million, which just isn't going to cut it. He's also going to expect a raise next year, considering he will be 27 years old and entering the prime of his career.
I know that Talbot adds other things like penalty killing and an emotional presence, but you can find someone else who adds those things within the system.
Most likely, a team like the Maple Leafs will throw $2 million a year at Max and he'll have to jump ship. I'll be sad to see him go, but not as much as the ladies on the South Side.
Comrie, who was signed late in the offseason this past year for $500,000, never got a fair chance this year in the 'Burgh.
He tried to play through a hip injury early in the season, but was unable to do so and had to undergo surgery. Since returning, he has been a healthy scratch since head coach Dan Blysma was happy with his line chemistry.
However, Comrie is a proven 30-goal scorer in this league, and with the Penguins' power play struggling mightily, it might be a good idea to resign the winger to another short term deal.
He couldn't be worse than Chris Connor, right?
Alex Kovalev always has been and always will be one of my favorite Penguins of all time. He was simply one of the most talented players to ever step on NHL ice. If he hadn't been so flaky, he could have been a scoring champion.
However, that ship has sailed and it's burning out at sea.
Kovalev has been simply useless during this first-round series with the Lightning, taking penalties in five of the six games and registering only one shot in Game 5 and Game 6.
The Penguins gave up essentially nothing for him (a seventh round pick) and have received almost nothing in return.
I love Kovy and wish him well, but Mother Russia might be a better place for him.
With Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Kovalev and Comrie all heading to free agency, the Penguins are going to need some help up front.
Tanguay was rumored to be a Pittsburgh trade target earlier this year, but the asking price was too high.
The Calgary Flames, playing golf after a very disappointing season, will most likely want to shake things up; re-signing a 31-year-old winger probably isn't in their plans.
However, Tanguay would fit in perfectly on the Penguins, helping to contribute to an underperforming power play and providing a scoring winger to play with Malkin or Crosby.
Brad Thiessen, the Penguins' minor league netminder in Wilkes-Barre, posted a season for the ages between the pipes.
Thiessen was 35-8, with a .922 save percentage and a 1.94 goals against average—all spectacular numbers that helped the Baby Penguins to the best record in the AHL.
The 25-year-old goaltender was solid all year long, and has proven that he at least deserves a shot at the big time.
The problem is that the Pittsburgh Penguins have a man named Marc Andre Fleury minding their net, making Thiessen somewhat expendable.
Obviously, Ray Shero knows the value of young goaltenders in this league and wouldn't ship him off for just anything.
But, if the price is right...
To fans who have watched the Penguins all year, this award should come as no surprise.
As the nation saw on HBO's 24/7 series, Dan Bylsma is truly a teaching coach. His style is player-friendly, he never gets too high or too low and he led his team to one of the longest winning streaks in recent franchise history.
Not to mention that he earned a No. 4 playoff seed while losing countless players to injury—including Jordan Staal, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
In fact, the Big Three of the Penguins played only two (two!) games together this entire season. How he did that and still managed to crack 100 points on the year, I'll never know.
In my opinion, Bylsma deserves this award more than anyone else in the league this year, and has proven that he is deserving of the spot behind Pittsburgh's bench.
Jordan Staal's season this year has been, in all fairness, a disappointment. Staal never really could find his scoring touch, but still managed to be one of the best penalty killers in the league.
This coming offseason, all that will change.
Finally healthy after having his foot shredded by PK Subban, Staal will dedicate himself to shooting drills this entire offseason and come back next year with a renewed purpose.
He'll work with Evgeni Malkin on his wing, and the two will develop a chemistry that presents matchup nightmares for opposing teams.
The offseason is where players make their adjustments that impact the next season, and Staal will not disappoint.
If he manages to stay healthy for all 82 games, Staal should definitely clear 30 goals next year.
I don't know who this alien is who is inhabiting Tyler Kennedy's body, but I hope the Pens can sign him long-term.
Kennedy was one of the few Penguins who stepped up in Sidney Crosby's absence, jumping his goal total from 13 to 21 and almost doubling his point production.
People forget that Kennedy is still only 24 years old and can still improve dramatically over the next few years.
Plus, if he could score this many goals playing without Sid and Geno, imagine what he could do when they are healthy.
Sure, the Penguins are set at the their top two defensive pairings for the foreseeable future. But it would be an absolute shame to keep a talent like Despres down.
Despres has already proven he is a major talent, having won the Quebec Major Junior league's Defenceman of the Year award—an award that Kris Letang won a few years ago.
He also scored 19 points in 21 playoff games for the St. John Sea Dogs and made the Canadian National Junior Team (no small feat).
After years of trying many different combinations at defense and failing (remember Joe Melichar?), the Penguins finally have a surplus of talented, puck-moving defenseman.
Matt Niskanen has certainly done himself no favors with his play this season, and Despres might just be the thing the Penguins need to complete the best defensive corps in the NHL.
This was the easiest prediction to make of them all.
As Penguins fans know, every offseason Crosby dedicates himself to getting better at one thing.
One year, it was faceoffs, and he became one of the best faceoff men in the league the next season.
The year after, he decided to work on shooting more and won the Richard trophy the following season.
Once he's fully recovered from his concussion(s), Crosby will dedicate himself to the power play.
He will spend long hours in the film room, he will run drills with his teammates and he will discover what works and what doesn't.
Next season, with Crosby putting in the research, the Penguins' power play will be in the top 10 of the league.
Bank on it.