Two-time Cup champion Penguins turn to Murray as top goalie
LAST SEASON: 50-21-11, 111 points. Second in Metropolitan Division. Beat Nashville in six games to win Stanley Cup.
COACH: Mike Sullivan (third season, fifth NHL season).
ADDED: RW Ryan Reaves, G Antti Niemi.
LOST: G Marc-Andre Fleury, D Trevor Daley, C Nick Bonino, LW Chris Kunitz, C Matt Cullen.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Murray. Fleury’s departure to Las Vegas there is no question that Murray is the man in net. The 23-year-old already has two Stanley Cup titles and now accepts the mantle as the top goaltender from the beloved Fleury. Fleury showed an ability to keep the Penguins in games early in the season while the offense found its footing, a task that now falls on Murray’s shoulders.
OUTLOOK: History or bust. The Penguins became the first team in nearly 20 years to win two straight Cups when they fended off upstart Nashville in the finals. Pittsburgh is embracing the opportunity to become the first group since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s to win three in a row. The road will be harder this season considering the amount of defections but any team that starts with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will have an inherent advantage over everyone else.