Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.
Note: Due to the lockout, GVT scores for the 2013 season are prorated from 48 to 82 games.
Summer Skate: Pittsburgh Penguins
Was 2009 an exception? Pittsburgh fans are surely asking themselves this question, as their beloved team faltered in the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Bruins, scoring just two goals in a four-game sweep by Boston. Most alarmingly, offense was thought to be the only thing the Pens had going for it entering the series, as a cavalcade of Marc-Andre Fleury errors for the second straight postseason planted thoughts of a buyout in some fans' minds (and gave the team a goalie battle to decide in camp between Fleury and Tomas Vokoun).
The electric duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain this team's cornerstones, but two players cannot win a Cup by themselves, and the Penguins need to ensure the right supporting cast is in place (particularly in goal) if they are to repeat the 2009 success that now seems so, so long ago.
Trending up: F Evgeni Malkin
Last season: 11.8 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 15.1